Stress Management for Families of Children with Special Needs | Salma Safira Sukma from BehaviorPALS Center| Kinderkloud

Stress Management for Families of Children with Special Needs

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Raising a child with special needs comes with its own challenges which often result in higher levels of stress. Parents and whole family members of children with disabilities may feel more pressured to fulfill their child’s special needs. While some stress can be beneficial, too much stress can make it too hard to cope with which later can cause difficulties for the family to handle daily-life problems.

Each family member might respond or express their stress in various ways. Nevertheless, managing stress in the family is very important to maintain and improve the emotional and mental well-being of every person in your family. By managing stress, you will also feel more in control of your situation. 

Here are some ways that you and your family can do if your family have trouble coping:

  1. Be positive, this includes having a positive thinking or practicing positive self-talk. By restructuring your thinking patterns and having positive feelings, you will have a better ability to handle stressful situations and reduce your stress level. For example, instead of negatively thinking that you are not doing enough, think about how many things you and your family have accomplished to get this far and convince yourself that your family will be able to face other challenges in the future. 
  2. Talk about your child’s disabilities. It is important to have conversations within your family about your child’s diagnosis and conditions, so your family can support each other better. If your special needs child has a sibling, explain your family situations to them both positively and realistically. You can also encourage all family members, no matter how old they are, to share their feelings and thoughts to the family. 
  3. Breathing exercise, this might help you to calm down and feel more relaxed when you are in a stressful situation. You can also practice some meditation or mindfulness every morning or night to help you feel more positive throughout the day.
  4. Getting organized, such as writing down your agendas for the day and working through it one by one. Being organized and focusing on one thing at a time can help you feel more in control of your life and your stress levels. 
  5. Make time for enjoyable activities. It is important for you and your family members to have time for activities they enjoy. You can ask everyone in your family to list the things they like and then pick one activity to do every week from the list so everyone gets to do something they enjoy every now and then.
  6. Maintaining and modifying family routines. This will give your family a sense of belongingness and strengthens your family relationships. Having family routines can also help your family to be more organized. However, you should be able to modify some of your family’s routines to meet the needs of your child’s special needs.
  7. Identify support from extended family and friends. It is a good thing to ask for help from your extended family and closest friends to support your family situation. It can be as simple as asking them to babysit your child for a few hours or ask them to pick up your child from school. This can also be a way for you and your extended family to spend more time together and have fun.

Stress management is not always easy and also requires practice. Professional help is available if you or any member of your family feels too overwhelmed with stress. For example, having individual consultation, attending family therapy, or participating in a stress management training program can be helpful to reduce stress than having no treatment at all. 

 

References:

Arif, A., Ashraf, F., & Nusrat, A. (2021). Stress and coping strategies in parents of children with special needs. Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, 71(5), 1369-1371. http://doi.org/10.47391/JPMA.1069 

López-Liria, R., Vargas-Muñoz,, E., Aguilar-Parra, J. M., Padilla-Góngora, D., Mañas-Rodriguez, M. A., &  Rocamora-Pérez, P. (2020). Effectiveness of a training program in the management of stress for parents of disabled children. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 29, 964-977. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-019-01665-5 

Managing stress when caring for your disabled child. (2022, May 17). Scope: Equality for Disabled People. Retrieved August 8, 2022 from https://www.scope.org.uk/advice-and-support/manage-stress-caring-for-disabled-child/#Talk-to-your-GP-if-you-need-help-click

Stress and stress management in families with autistic children. (2020, December 10). Raising Children Network Australia. Retrieved August 8, 2022 from https://raisingchildren.net.au/autism/communicating-relationships/family-relationships/family-stress-asd

Talking about your child’s disability. (2021, December 7). Raising Children Network Australia. Retrieved August 8, 2022 from https://raisingchildren.net.au/disability/family-life/communicating-relationships/talking-about-child-disability

 

By: Salma Safira Sukma Ikhsani, S.Psi. from BehaviorPALS Center

 

stress management, family, special needs children

Special Needs / Berkebutuhan Khusus / Marriage & Relationship / Hubungan Suami & Istri / Family / Keluarga / Stress Management for Families of Children with Special Needs

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