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Autism parents don’t have it easy. You are faced with many more challenges than parents of children without autism do. However, in all of the efforts you are making to take good care of your child, it’s easy to forget that you need to maintain a healthy balance within your other relationships and cope with your own situation and emotions.
Remember: the healthier you are emotionally and the better the condition of your social life, the more capable you will be to make the right decisions for your child and care for them to the best of your abilities.
Other relationships in your life are your support system and a vital part of how you meet your own personal needs. Never underestimate the value of connecting with people you care about. While it’s important to have time to yourself to process emotions, you shouldn’t overlook the need to get out and do fun things with your friends and family members.
The constant emotional roller coaster ride that only autism parents experience will become too much, if you aren’t at your healthiest emotional point.
To be emotionally healthy, you need to take care of yourself and that includes nourishing important relationships. This doesn’t mean making big statements; it can be something simple like watching the occasional movie with some friends – even if this means renting a movie and having your friends over to watch it once the kids have gone to bed. It could also be going out to a restaurant or heading to a family member or friend’s place for a meal.
Never overlook the importance of a phone call to a sympathetic ear where you have the opportunity to vent your frustrations and hear about the lives of other people, too.
Getting to know your neighbors can be a valuable social experience. This allows you to meet in the driveway or talk on the front porch when you cross paths. It can help you remain feeling connected with the world.
Remember that though you are a parent with an autistic child, your child is not the only important relationship in your life – even though it may be the most challenging, rewarding and time consuming.
Having friends and family who are emotionally close give you people with whom you can truly share your feelings. This can be a tremendous relief in itself. They are also usually the people with whom you spent your time before you had children. Try doing some of the activities you enjoyed before you became a parent and you’ll have “mini vacations” to look forward to and to enjoy on occasion.
This is not to say that you don’t enjoy the time you spend with your children. Nor is it suggesting that you should try to mimic the life that you had before becoming a parent. You should however, recognize that just because you have a child with autism, you needn’t give up everything you enjoy and all of the relationships that had been important in your life before becoming a parent.
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