Looking forward

New Year tends to be a time of deep reflection. We reach the end of something, we close it up, and we look forward to starting something new. Of course this is all just a mind game. We’re not actually starting something new, it’s another month like the last – just without Christmas lights and with less turkey. But nonetheless, many of us still get all reflective and thoughtful.

This reflective state we delve into often means looking back on the decisions that we’ve made, the events that have occurred, and the changes we endured in the last year.

As parents, if you had a tough year last year, or it wasn’t what you expected it to be, then you might find yourselves wondering if this year will just be a repeat of 2015 - especially if the circumstances you faced are expected to remain the same. For example if you have a child who has a disability, or a special need, any challenges brought on by these factors will likely be consistent.

The good news is that, even though your circumstances might be the same, your ability to cope, grow, and bond with your family don’t necessarily have to remain the same. Neither does the quality of your relationship with your partner which, when improved, can make everyday living feel lighter and challenges feel more manageable.

Research shows that couples who build their bond of togetherness feel able to deal with challenges more effectively [1]. This applies to all couples, including those who have disabled children. Additionally, couples who talk about their upcoming challenges are better able to deal with them when they happen.  

“The quality of couple relationships has a clearer link to the health, life satisfaction and wellbeing of partners and their children [2]”

If 2015 felt quite bleak at times, remember that your current situation is not a forecast of your future. As you get to know your child and understand them better (along with their condition), you’ll find it easier to know what they need and how to make the best of your time together.

To encourage yourself, think back to a few of the initial challenges you faced that you’ve already overcome - challenges that perhaps appeared insurmountable at the beginning and then, over time, became something that could be worked through. Hold these before-and-after moments in your mind and remember that things can improve, solutions can be found, and challenges can be overcome.

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References

 
[1] Coleman and Glenn 2009; Proulx et al., 2007; Robles et al. 2013; The Relationships Alliance 2014; Vaillant (2012)

[2] Barrett et al., 2011; Cummings and Davies, 2010; Reynolds et al., 2014; Relationships Alliance (2014)

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