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Home » Connect with Carrina » Don’t Tell Me I am Strong!

Don’t Tell Me I am Strong!

Parenting a child with special needs can be one of the toughest roles you will ever take on. People often tell these parents that they are strong and resilient, but, they often feel like there is no other choice. They didn’t have the option to walk away when their children were born or diagnosed with their condition–they simply had to adjust and keep going.

The truth is, being a parent to a child with special needs can be incredibly painful. As they watch their children struggle in ways that healthy children never experience. They often feel helpless, broken, and vulnerable when they witness the pain and suffering of their children, knowing that they can do little to take away the hurt.

While well-intentioned, being told “I don’t know how you do it” or “You are just so strong” can be very irritating for a parent who mostly feels they have no other choice, and likely feels weak a lot of the time. While they may not always feel strong, they do possess strength. They can and do persevere, no matter how hard it gets. It might take longer than usual or require more energy, but eventually, they find a way to make it through. 

The most important thing to do when talking to parents of children with special needs is to listen. Everyone’s experience is different, and it can be difficult to understand the level of exhaustion they feel without having experienced it firsthand. Let them express themselves, their feelings, and any frustrations they may have. Give them the space and time they need to work through their emotions and don’t try to force them into positivity. 

At the end of the day, parents of children with special needs need basic empathy, understanding, and respect; not phrases that remind them they should be more resilient than they feel. To support these parents, just listen without judgment and offer love and kindness–that’s all they need.