Depression in parents with special needs kids – the realities….
I know that parents of special needs kids are really struggling!
I know, all parents are busy, are juggling way too many balls, and are far too busy.
But for special needs kids, parents really need to have time out for self care, but they often don’t get that. Apart from the day to day juggles of getting the kids out the door to school, shopping, work, all those other things, they also have the extra appointments. The OT, speech, psychology, behaviour support plan meetings, NDIS plan meetings, and all the paperwork and emails. Managing that is extremely time consuming and emotionally taxing.
I really take my hat off to parents who have to cope with this extra stress as well. You guys are just amazing.
It got me thinking about, as professionals, we see parents and kids most days and at least a couple of them everyday are struggling with their mental health or with tiredness. Often these kids really struggle to sleep, which means that the parents and the whole family doesn’t get enough sleep, which impacts on not being able to cope and the feeling of not being able to cope. It can be a never ending cycle and it really is taxing.
Sometimes parents may come across as setting really clear boundaries with professionals. Parents may seem a little prickly or defensive. But this is just their way of coping. I’ve always thought, when dealing with friends or family or other professionals or parents, that if something is happening in their lives, they can’t be there and react as they would always want to.
So my thoughts for today are, if you are struggling with working with a parent, try not to get involved personally or take their reactions personally. Step back. Consider what else is happening for them at the moment. Reach out to support them in whatever capacity you have.
I hope that this is helpful in reflecting and to perhaps refocus on being more compassionate towards our parents who carry such a heavy load.
Written by Deb Hopper, Occupational Therapist