Besides a general motivation to do the best for one’s child, there seem to be vast differences in daily life priorities, tasks, awareness and fulfillment of parenting, between parents of special needs kids and other parents.
As in any area of great difference the two sides can either talk with one another and learn from this, or isolate into one’s familiar circle so that the type of acknowledging and dialogue which develops understanding, appreciation and growth, quietly disappears.
A few consistent qualities in parents whose relationship with their special needs child is secure and strong, are seriousness, focus, a high degree of compassion, thoughtfulness, imagination and creativity.
Usually too, special needs parents shift away from surface level values and priorities. Having learned to pay attention and appreciate unique definitions and small amounts of progress often after great effort and determination, the question of whether the new wallpaper is slightly off in color, for example, drops in meaning.
Do you sense that the above characteristics also apply to parenting of kids who have no special needs?
Seriousness, focus, compassion, imagination, creativity, shifting of values to core essentials of honorable thought and action, are all necessary and develop in anyone invested in parenting their child.
As well, any parent regardless of being or not being in the special needs parenting category, has the choice to avoid the effort and joy of deeper self-knowledge and relating which parenting any child offers.
Some parents whose kids are not special needs and some parents whose kids are special needs, will select what appears as short term ease and least investment of self.
What if we encouraged ways for all parents, regardless if their kids are special needs or not, who love parenting as a path to nurture the best possible future for their child and the community, to engage in discussion with one another?
This way a parent who knows very little of the ways to engage and interact meaningfully with a special needs kid, would find out directly from those who potentially have the most detailed and in depth knowledge of this.
Similarly, a parent who knows very little of the difficulties to engage with a regular kid, may feel a little less wistful of what they believe they’re missing, after talking with a parent whose child isn’t classified.
Bridging the gap of knowledge and awareness between the two sectors of parents increases the chance for all people to be acknowledged and cared of both individually and on the community level.