Having a special needs (SN) child brings with it many of the typical joys of parenting, but let’s not kid ourselves into believing that there aren’t major drawbacks for the parents.As a psychologist and parent of a special needs child of my own, I have detected several negative effects which I’ll describe in detail below.
On the other hand, it can be extremely draining to meet emotional needs which—I’ll be honest—often feel bottomless.
What’s more, many times when I go out of my way to please him or meet a need, he ends up angry or tearful, and I seem to fail him.
When you are a working adult without kids, you have the ability to come home after work and unwind.
When you work and come home to kids, there’s always work to do.
Part of what consists of my son’s special needs includes his trouble initiating solitary projects or doing almost anything on his own.
Because he lacked much of the guidance any child needs to thrive early on in life (meaning, the first few years), he craves attention, physical affection, and visual mirroring. I’ll give you an example: “Will you watch me play with my car? It’s a major strength in my son that he is so aware of some of his most primitive needs, and it’s an added strength that he verbally asserts himself.If you think it’s draining to meet the needs of a child who has such a vast arsenal of needs, imagine how you’d feel if at least half of your attempts to make that child happy were to end in tears—the child’s visible, yours hidden.When people talk about how some children are draining, I always cringe because it feels critical and selfish.But chronic illnesses are not the only type of special needs that children have.I am focusing on children with special emotional needs, including children who have a psychiatric diagnosis.Fast forwarding to today, I am better versed in handling my son with his unique set of emotional issues, and my family has set up a helpful support group of friends and professionals who are deeply involved in the care for my son. As a part of my journey the past couple of years, I’ve reflected a lot on what the effect of having special needs kids is on parents—because there is a definite effect, and I wish I could say it's all good. Yet for the parents of kids with SN, these parents will have deeper resentment—even if those resenting moments last only ten or twenty seconds.