by Eraina Davis MAR, M.Ed
As the single parent of a special needs child, I was fully aware of the challenges I faced associated with raising my child alone. Prior to marriage, I developed a strategic approach in order to juggle graduate school, career, and school meetings. After operating in single mode for over 12 years, I fell in love with an outstanding Christian man. Suddenly, I was faced with a new reality; managing a household, a husband and parenting a special needs child.
Prior to marriage, my husband and I discussed our vision for our marriage and the roles that our children played in that vision. While studying the New Testament biblical scriptures at Divinity school, I encountered a number of descriptions of what the connection between children and marriage should look like. In the New Testament, Paul describes the importance of the Christian household. Through scriptures related to marriage, Paul gives clear guidance regarding the role of women and men in the household. The main question to ask when parenting special needs children is what does God desire for my family and specifically this child?
There are several instances in the New Testament where children are viewed as a positive aspect of family life. What does this have to do with how you parent your special needs child? Mainly, that God has a plan for your children (special or typical). As parents, we play a vital role in facilitating that plan and engaging them daily through rearing and love. As you determine the plan God has for your child, there are things that you can start doing today that will help your relationship with your spouse and help to maintain a peaceful home environment:
#1 Support each other in the day to day regimen of parenting. Just like with parenting a typical child (never use the word normal, it is offensive) there are necessary daily routines that a couple should split.
#2 Work to maintain a stable partnership. Despite the role that each parent plays in the day to day of parenting, make sure to have honest conversations that typically end with in agreement to stay grounded in partnership and rooted in the Word of God.
#3 Laugh often. Laughter is important in order not take the daily challenges too seriously. Remember, though your child has special needs, you are still a family unit; enjoy the daily family life that you have together.
#4 Map out long and short term goals for your child, and put them in the form of a faith confession. Though it may take years to manifest, there is something that happens when you agree to those goals as a team. Post it in your child’s bedroom and include scriptures in your confession. My favorite scripture that I try to affirm daily: “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Isaiah 54:13 NKJ
#5 Balance the conversations around your child’s special needs. Again, balancing the daily routines of family life, coupled with the additional responsibility can be daunting. Make sure to balance the attention between your spouse and your children.
#6 Ask for help. Sometimes hiring a reputable caregiver or family assistant will lighten the load on the family structure which will make mandatory date nights easier to obtain.
BMWK – those are great tips for parents with special parents (and can be used by all.) Do you have a special needs child? If so, please share how you and your spouse work together to manage the day to day responsibilities of parenting? How do you ensure that your relationship with each other stays strong.
Eraina Davis MAR, M.Ed Eraina Davis is an educational writer and blogger over at The Good Life. She holds an M.Ed in Education and an MAR in Religion.
like what you're reading?