Families are complicated.
Kids are complicated.
Relationships are complicated.
It takes all the positive support one can receive to make the journey easier. We all need this support and caring from others. That’s what Family Resources strives to do for families. That’s what I often see other parents doing for each other.
On Friday at the end of Play Shoppe, a little guy fell completely apart when he realized it was time to go home and he had not done the art project that had been set out that morning. We offered him the materials to take with him, to no avail. He was not to be comforted.
This type of situation can be difficult emotionally for a parent. When all of the other children are seemingly happy and cooperative, the parents of the upset child can easily imagine being judged on their parenting skills and their inability to control their child’s behavior. It can feel devastating.
Fortunately I saw several parents on Friday offer an understanding touch or “been there” look of recognition to this mom, mixed with grateful relief that it wasn’t their child, at least not today.
For every child has his day.
And when that child happens to be your own, it’s difficult not to feel overwhelmed and alone.
When it really begins to get most challenging, however, is when “that day” could be every day for a complicated child who has special needs. We all know a child like this – who may react emotionally in many different situations – perhaps by screaming, throwing, hitting, kicking, refusing.
It is this parent – most in need of our caring support – who sometimes receives it the least.
Yet it is also these same parents who have to work most diligently to meet their child’s needs. While others can relax and talk together during groups and outings, a parent of a child with special needs is constantly on task, constantly on alert.
That’s what makes it so complicated.
But we can all make it simpler together.
We can do this by extending our support, offering our friendship, our conversation and our invitations to these families, to help make their lives fuller, as well as our own; understand, accept and value their “normal” as normal, be less daunted by what’s different and more receptive to the gifts of all families.
We will all be richer for it.