How can a parent/carer feel?

How can a parent/carer feel?


A short while ago, I decided to make a list of feelings I had felt throughout the difficult autism years and I have since found that a lot of parents identify with all of these feelings. This is the list…

  • Stressed
  • Overwhelmed
  • Anxious
  • Preoccupied
  • Uncertain about what to do for the best
  • Uncertain and afraid of the future
  • Confused with so many options thrown at them
  • Sense of urgency – time running out – that your child can’t catch up
  • Sad – grief at what is lost for your child and their future – and theirs too
  • Socially ostracised and isolated – because they now don’t ‘fit in’
  • Don’t know how to protect their child
  • Don’t know how to help their child develop
  • Very disempowered and out of control
  • Overloaded with meetings
  • Exhausted in giving and giving but having little in return in the way of expected fun, playdates, relationship with their child etc
  • Lost because none of their natural parenting instincts seem to work
  • Feeling that they are doing something wrong – a feeling confirmed many times by schools, educational psychologists etc…
  • Stupid – as they are often treated by schools etc as if they know very little about what is best for their child
  • Exhausted because everything is a battle
  • Alone – because there is very little sympathy or understanding from others
  • Jealous – because they have to watch others having the life they had wanted
  • Having to develop a thick skin as no-one says anything nice about their child – only tells them bad news
  • Despair – because childcare is really hard to find and it’s hard to get any kind of break
  • Emotional pain – because it’s hard to see your child trying and not succeeding to make himself understood and to make friends
  • Mistrusting – that people won’t treat your child right when your back is turned
  • Judged – people are always giving judgemental looks
  • Relentless – having to be OK all the time
  • Pressure and stress on your relationship because of the demands from your child
  • Unable to access things that used to make you feel better such as times with friends – ‘me-time’ etc.
  • Ostracised – because you are now seen as ‘different’

I think it’s important for teachers, SENCOS, and anyone working with parents to have an insight and some empathy for what a parent will highly likely be going through when their child has difficulties. This will hopefully help them to be just that little bit more giving, patient and never, ever patronising.  Children’s difficulties affect parents way more than school staff can ever see and it’s important for parents and teachers to be on the same side and really listen to each other.

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