Have you experienced getting stared at by people when you and your child are at the mall or at the grocery and he experiences a sudden meltdown?
Do you feel helpless when your little one suddenly bites you, or when they try to bang their head for no apparent reason?
Do you get tired of waiting for your angel to sleep? It’s lights off but your child still wants to play.
If all of the above describes you, know that you are not alone.
Dealing with challenging behaviors, financial burdens, poor sleep, stigma, and many others on a daily basis can wreak havoc on anyone especially when you have a child with autism. Research has shown that mothers parenting a child with autism has greater risks for stress, poorer health and mental conditions such as depression and anxiety than mothers of typically developing children. Research has shown that parenting stress and psychological distress in mothers or caregivers contributed to decreased child well-being and/or developmental progress.
In order to better care for your child and family, here are some of the tips to help moms weather the parenting storms associated with autism.
Join supports groups.
Have a network of support in your family or see professionals that offer guidance for those caring or parenting children with mental health concerns.
Getting help shows reduction in stress associated with the daily hurdles of parenting a child with autism. This will help you realize that you are not alone. Meet people who you can share your feelings with. These are the people that will understand as they more or less experience the same circumstances as you do.
Acceptance is a choice—a hard one actually. After receiving the dreaded label from the pediatrician, you are left alone with your coffee and your thoughts, you start to realize; our kids may not have the same childhood that we imagined for them.
You feel that you have lost the exact life that you have planned for your child’s life. You feel overwhelmed with no clue of what the future will hold for your little angel. Just as we want to linger to our grief in the hopes that the label would just go away, we need to accept them for who they are not who they are not. This is easily said than done, but when we start to accept, it allows families to take prompt action and make informed decisions towards finding the best help available to help your children overcome the challenges of their condition.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
As parents, it can be difficult to find time to care for yourself. Mindfulness helps reduce the levels of stress from the overwhelming challenges of parenting, help change our behaviors during parent-child interaction which bring increased development progress for our children, lead to better outcomes for parental satisfaction as parents are full present, proactive and not reactive. Autism is a marathon, not a sprint. You owe it to yourself and your child to be whole, healthy, and happy.