A few days ago I was invited to speak at a parent support group in my city. As always, it was as beneficial for me as it was for the parents. We connected as Moms and Dads of “Exceptional Children”, who ride the highs and lows of parenting children that constantly keep us on our toes, challenge us in many ways, and need us to advocate for them. I saw the children as well, who shortly after arriving, went with the babysitter to play in the art and toy room. They were all so different and intelligent in their own way, and were similar to one another as well as different, like all of us are. We all have strengths and weaknesses.
A lot of our challenges as parents were the same, though for some of us, there were more language or communication issues, others had experienced more behavioral issues, but most of us had experienced and were experiencing a combination of both with our kids. We talked about the professionals who work and who worked with our children- teachers, doctors, therapists, and how they have been helpful to us as parents too. I also highlighted for the parents how important it is for Moms and Dads to trust their parenting guy when talking with professionals about their child. You are your child’s best advocate, the one who knows him/her the most. You know the whole child. You know what they are capable of more than anyone else. Work with the professionals to help your child be the best they can be. Work to also take care of you, so that you could be the best parent advocate you can for your child and yourself.
Leaving that afternoon, I thought to myself how amazing our kids are. They bring us to the journey of special needs or exceptional parenting, and show us how powerful another way of viewing the world can be. My son Michael has opened up my life in so many ways. He challenges me to see him, myself, and the world in a positive light. Many of the friends I now have in my life, would not be in my life if not for Michael. These are amazing strong Moms and Dads, who through the experience of parenting their extraordinary children, also have become stronger, more tolerant and open people. None of us look at limits the way we used to, and that is due to our children.
Exceptional Parents, how have your Mom/Dad friends helped you look inward for strength, compassion and advocacy for your child and yourself? How have they helped you get through the difficult times? It’s important for all of us to remember that we are never alone. Reach out, find strength in your community, and continue the conversation together of advocating for the amazing human beings you have been given, your Exceptional Children.Until next time.