Demands and Emotions Experienced by Parents and Children
Shock of diagnosis
Learning that your child is struggling physically or has developmental issues may arouse strong emotions. Here are some examples of possible reactions:
- Parents often say that they do not understand all of the elements explained by professionals when the diagnosis is announced. On the one hand, they are too upset to understand everything. On the other hand, some medical terms are indeed very complex.
- Parents sometimes feel helpless when they come home. It is the beginning of mourning, that of the "ideal" child and of the so-called "normal" family. Each parent experiences it in their own way and at their own pace, which can cause tensions within the couple.
- Some parents may experience anger and feel injustice.
- Others feel guilty even if it is not their fault.
- Parents may feel misunderstood by their families and friends who do not experience the same reality.
These reactions are normal. The diagnosis tells parents they will face greater demands than those typically faced by parents of children who do not have special needs.
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Children with special needs often need extra care, time or help with day-to-day tasks, putting more strain on parents. This very complex reality leads many parents of children with special needs to experience social isolation and fatigue. The family situation can make visits and outings very difficult, and sometimes those around them do not fully understand this reality. So, it can become difficult for parents to rely on extended family or friends for a break. And fatigue sets in gradually. The many appointments, the difficult work-family balance, the child's high needs, the mental load, the lack of sleep, the feeling of helplessness, the lack of professional services and network support, the look of others, isolation can make parents sink into a great fatigue, which can progress to exhaustion, or even depression.
In order to reduce the impact on the family as much as possible, here are some key elements:
- Couple: Team up with your partner in how to intervene and provide care, respect each other's emotions and progress, and reserve quality time together.
- Siblings: Reserve a special time for siblings to prevent them from feeling left out, offer them to participate in activities reserved for siblings of children with special needs to allow them to feel understood and less alone.
- Career: Continuing your professional activities allows you to fulfill yourself in a role other than that of parent and allows you to share care and appointments with the other parent.
Reference : https://naitreetgrandir.com/fr/etape/1_3_ans/viefamille/fiche.aspx?doc=enfant-besoins-particuliers-il-faut-savoir
Do not hesitate to get in touch with a VMFRC worker for help and to find out about the resources and associations in your area. Lien vers Rendez-vous
When to discuss the diagnosis with your child
Before you talk to your child about their condition, you need to make sure you are ready to do so. It's best to wait until you know enough about your diagnosis before discussing it with them. This will allow you to correctly answer their questions. It's also best to wait until you are able to talk about it empathetically without being overwhelmed by your emotions.
It is important to respect their pace of understanding and give him information as they asks for it. If a child does not seem bothered by the reality of their diagnosis, or if they are too young to realize it, there is no need to talk to them. Emphasizing their differences and peculiarities could only worry them for nothing.
How to do it
When the time comes, it's a good idea to use simple words and build on what your child has already said and observed about him or her. Your child needs to be reassured that you love them. It's important to tell them that no matter what their diagnosis, it doesn't change anything for you and that you still love them as much.
Several children's books feature characters who live with a difference or have special needs. It is a good idea to read some with your child so that they can identify with a character and know that they are not alone in their situation, and to gradually introduce the topic with them.
You would like to discuss the diagnosis with your child, or you would like to understand your child's emotions following the announcement of the diagnosis? A counselor from the VMFRC can help you plan a discussion with your child. Request services
Offered by the Valcartier Military Family Resource Centre · 418 844-6060 · 1 877 844-6060