Having a child with a disability can add strain to family and friend relationships. You'll need patience, resilience and sometimes an iron will to get you through the day. You will get angry. You will cry and some days you will feel at your wits end with comments said, looks given and you will feel some days you have no support whatsoever. Support is a two way thing. I have found you have to give and receive even when raising disabled children. People can't support you if they don't understand what is going on.
One thing is for certain I have learnt this the hard way. As humans we need a support network around us. This can be friends, family and even the professionals involved in our children care. For me personally building this support network has taken years and I could only do it once I had accepted that my children are different and that their wellbeing and happiness is more important than how I feel others perceive me. Don't push people away like I did and don't hide, be proud of who you are and who your children are.
From my experience raising a child with disabilities can take a toll on you, your relationships with partners and family and can also affect friendships. This is especially true for those who come up against prejudice and ignorance from those around them, harsh I know but its true. People may have a tougher time in understanding and accepting that your child has a disability.
* They just do not understand and it's this lack of understanding that in some cases can cause strife and upset.
* ADD and ADHD used to be termed as a naughty child. It is now slowly getting the recognition that it is a real unseen disability, but that change is not quick enough.
* They may feel as awkward and unsure of what to do around you and your child as you do. I still feel I don't understand what is going on inside my child's head some days. So how can I expect her aunt or grandparents to?
* I know people who don't really understand what ADD is and it is not confined to a particular generation either. It is hard to try and explain and we are not medical professionals so my advice would be to speak from your heart. Let them see the good and the bad and make up their own choice.
There is so much media on ADD and ADHD with everyone having a say, it's sometimes difficult and confusing. I find getting people involved and not being afraid to show the harder side of parenting ADD much more effective. Let people in and their empathy will show through.
Don't listen to the negative though, it's your child.
Be an angry mother bear if you need to but just remember not all people think the same and that although some people are just ignorant, that there are others who genuinely just don't understand....
For a long time I tried to cope alone! I felt embarrassed that my children were different, I felt anger at the world and it has taken me a long time to not only accept that my children have disabilities but to also accept that I am in no way a failure and that they are each a bright burning star who will forge their own paths and be amazing. Going through the motions of going to hospital appointments and caring for your children can at the beginning fill the void of family, friends and a support network but there is no substitute for that support.
It's hard yes, and it's frustrating and sometimes it's down-right annoying when people comment or do something you don't expect. I get angry, I cry and I get stressed. It's natural but instead of hitting out I find myself just smiling at them and reminding them what amazing children I have.
I hope the people in my life accept me for who I am and if they don't then tough shit because I am going to be the best mother to my children and to cope with what ever life throws at us regardless.
X Leanne X
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