MilParent Power for Families with Special Needs
Mastering this thing called “parenting” is a monumental task. If you're raising a child with special needs, it can sometimes seem like the mountain is just a bit higher – the task even greater. Remember, the military community is also a parenting community.
Chances are, many people in your unit, at your job and in your chain of command, are parents. And you might be surprised to learn how many of them are members of families with special needs themselves.
Here are a few tips to help you power up your parenting and make the most of the military-parent community:
- Ask for help when you need it. If you need a bit of help keeping an eye on your child, help making sure your home is a safe place for them, or even if you just need an hour to yourself – reach out. If you can, link up with friends, family, neighbors, church groups, playgroups and others who can offer support. You can also connect with your installation's Exceptional Family Member Program office, or contact Military OneSource or your Military and Family Support Center to find formal support groups and resources, such as the New Parent Support Program.
- Offer help when you can. If you see a colleague or friend who looks like they need a helping hand, offer yours. A few hours of babysitting, a dinner invitation, or just a genuine compliment can make all the difference in the world to a stressed-out mom or dad.
- Spend one-on-one time with your child when you can. One-on-one playtime is one of the best ways to demonstrate to your child that you love them, unconditionally. This kind of affirmation can build a child’s self-esteem, reduce stress and solidify your family’s resilience.
As a parent and a member of the military, you know the importance of being a good guardian – of your country, your military community and your family. Knowing when to ask for support, and making a few small changes in your daily routine can help keep all our children safe and help keep families resilient.