Families With Special Needs Kids
I work with Siblings as well as parents and other family members. This is an area that is very close to my own heart as I have a son with special needs. The Option Process® Dialogue was an amazing gift that helped me learn to love and accept all my little boy Rohan's challenges including his epilepsy. Getting more comfortable with his challenges has helped me to be more available to him in his time of need, rather than entrenched in worry and fear. Love and acceptance has also helped my typical daughter deal with what is going for her brother.
I used to think I was unhappy because of my situation, but then I learnt that having a special child and being unhappy was two different things. As you can see from the model on ‘underlying principles’ the stimulus is neutral, it is just something happening. We then have the belief (filter), fundamentally we are asking if this is good for me or bad for me? this then leads to the behavioural and emotional response. There is nothing wrong with deciding something is bad for you, you are deciding this for a logical reason, because you believe it is the best way of taking care of yourself. The Option Process dialogue will enable you to understand how you are using this belief to take care of yourself, and then help you to change the belief into one that builds towards happiness and acceptance. Once we are more comfortable with the situation, we are more available to our child to help them overcome their challenges.
I will demonstrate this model by an example:-
- Stimulus : My child doesn't talk yet
- Beliefs: This is bad for him he can't express what he wants, this is bad for me because have to work so hard to find out why he is crying. My child not talking is a reflection on me as a parent, I have failed my child.
- Response : Behaviour : Exhausted Feeling: Sad, angry and frustrated.
Another way of thinking:-
- Stimulus : My child doesn't talk yet
- Beliefs: This is a great opportunity for me to learn to bond with my child in another way and find out what he wants, and teach him a love of communication. My child is doing the best that he can as am I.
- Response : Behaviour : Learning about new ways to inspire my child Feeling: Excited and optimistic
I am going to let you into a secret, "many parents of typical children also think the same or similar things, I believe all our kids are special!"
So the thought is you can go after helping your child without feeling bad, accept your child and still do something to help them, infact feeling good gives you more energy to help and yourself. I work with parents of typical children too.
Am I a bad parent for thinking badly of my child or not being positive? I don’t need help I am coping!
Many parents judge themselves for thinking or feeling badly about their child or their childs disabilities or they beat themselves up for not being ‘positive’ or 'a good parent' all the time, then they bottle it up as they are worried about other people judging them too. During our dialogue session my role is to accept you where you are without judgement or expectation and to create a safe place for you to explore anything you want. The questions are not a sign of doubt but an opportunity for you to see why you are thinking the way you are? How it is helping you and allow you to change it if you want, there is no pressure for you to conform to any 'ideals'.
Many parents judge themselves for seeking help, they think they should be able to cope and manage. We forget however when we went to school to learn science, english and maths there was no class for parenting, let alone parenting a child who has additional needs. Would you judge a brain surgeon for not being able to repair your car? Using the dialogue process l will help you to find the roots of your discomforts so you can consequently change the way you feel and behave to get more comfortable, even more comfortable and more comfortable still…if that is what you want.
How to get started?
Start creating an awareness of your emotions and behaviours e.g. take note of instances where you felt really uncomfortable around your child?
Create a list of your wants for yourself: what is it that you want for yourself long term?
Please contact me for information regarding workshops, I can deliver off the shelf or bespoke packages.