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Building Friendships

ocean-insideOne of the hardest things about parenting my kids who have specials needs is finding the time and energy to help them develop friendships. A typical week can find us with 6-9 appointments after school between doctor visits, lab visits and tutors and so it’s not surprising that I find it difficult.

It’s exhausting planning the kids’ medical and emotional care and academic help and sometimes I feel like planning play dates is just one more thing and it often gets moved to the end of the line. But I do know it’s important to their development. Because they straddle the special needs world and the typically developed world it can sometimes be hard to manage the kids’ friendships. Yes, they have to be managed. With one child developmentally behind enough to be noticeable to her friends and the other lacking the social experience of interaction because of the time that was spent fighting for his life it is often hard to think about the implications of such challenges.

The number of friends they have is small, so this isn’t necessarily difficult. Except when it comes to the behavior of my son, who suffers from any number of diagnoses. Sometimes having to explain his different triggers and behaviors (and subsequent consequences) are so complicated that I back away from the situation altogether, not wanting to involve another parent, and I regret it deeply. It helps to keep their circles small. Less for all of us to manage.

Encouraging them to have friendships is a priority as is their kidney function, academics and mental wellness. Regretting not being able to do it holds me back from actually doing it. Doing it means reaching out to the parents of the kids that my kids are drawn to naturally, encouraging play time at our home so I can manage and help with the interactions, it means letting go a little and trusting other parents. It means to let go of the regret and guilt and move forward.

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  1. September 17, 2014 |