Pam Halter
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Keeping it Together - part three
12/16/2013 7:34:46 AM by: pam

How do you handle your other children when your special child needs so much attention and care? It's so important to make time for each of your children. Because Anna's medical needs were so great, I couldn't get a full-time job. I worked for a short time as church secretary because the hours were flexible and I could take Anna and Mary with me. Daryl and I made the decision for me to leave that job after my miscarriage. It gave me time to spend with both girls and get Anna to her therapies three times a week.

When Mary was four-years-old, I began to home school her. I do not recommend this for everyone, but it worked for us. Not only did Mary have my full time attention for education, we were able to do fun things, as well. I home-schooled her through seventh grade before she entered public school.

If you don't want to home-school, what can you do to make your other children feel wanted and loved? If you are a stay-at-home parent, you're there in the morning and afternoons. Have a snack ready and sit with your child for ten minutes. Most of our special kids go out to some kind of program. Perhaps your special child gets home later than your other children. That will give you time. If not, make a schedule or date with your other children. Our kids are kids for a short season, so while you're exhausted and filled to the brim with care giving, you're going to need to make yourself do this. It will be so worth it in the future.

Be honest with your children. Don't hide the hard work having a special needs child can be. Don't show your resentment, but don’t make light of it. Explain that God has given your family this child for a reason, even if you can't see it. He will help you all deal with it, if you let Him. Of course, this is easier said than done, but we have to try.

Let your other children help. Teach them about the disability. Make them feel important. Appreciate anything they do, no matter how small. Tell them you love them, appreciate them, and you're thankful you have them. Mary helps with Anna – always has – more about this in another post. There's too much to tell here.

Get respite care, for heaven's sake! We get 15-20 hours a month of child care for Anna and we can hire anyone we want. I can't tell you what a blessing it is to be able to leave Anna with someone I trust and spend time with Daryl or Mary or my girlfriends. I'd go nuts if I didn't have it. When you get a break, you'll be a better mommy or daddy – to all your children.

Make sure brothers and sisters feel loved and just as an important part of the family as your special child. In the long run, this will strengthen your marriage because marriage depends on family togetherness, not just the two of you.

Ephesians 6:4 "Fathers (and mothers), do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."

Proverbs 14:26 "He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge."

 


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Keeping it Together - part three
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Keeping it Together - part two
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