Do you ever feel like your child or children take all of your energy and you therefore have no energy to give to your spouse, partner, or friends? This is very normal although so important to pay attention to, be mindful of, and work at. Humans are social beings and we need that support network to function in our daily lives. Without it, we will get worn down and we will eventually see turmoil in our relationships, work, and ways of parenting. Below are some relationship recommendations that are so important when raising children, more importantly, children with autism.
First, ensure that you have a close adult companion who you can confide in. If you have a spouse or partner, it will most likely be them. If you do not have a spouse or a partner, identify a close friend who you can have real, open conversations with and who can call on when in times of need. It’s important to let someone know what you are going through and how you feel. Someone who just listens can be a great source of strength.
Second, have high levels of communication with your partner about your parenting strategies, away from your child. It is so important to have consistent parenting styles and strategies. Disagreeing during an episode with your child will only increase the stress and make matters worse. The communication needs to happen when you are alone with each other and you can come to resolutions. This will help in times when one parent needs a break and the other parent can step right in and be consistent with the strategies that the first parent was just using. Just as a marriage builds a relationship, a child builds a team.
Ask for help, especially at first. Don’t hesitate to use whatever support is available for you. Your family and friends are there to help, but may not know how. Maybe you can just have someone take the kids out for an afternoon? Or cook dinner for your family one night.
If you can, allow yourself to take a break, take some time away. It can be as simple as taking a walk or even going to see a movie, going shopping or visiting a friend can make a world of a difference. Schedule fun adult time on a regular basis, away from your child, with your partner or close friends. This is so important! Parenting is difficult and brings many challenges to relationships. It is important to spend time together, focusing on the two of you and not worrying about your child in the next room.
Lastly, don’t forget to rest. If you are getting regular sleep, you will be better prepared to make good decisions, be more patient with your child and deal with the stress in your life.
Remember that if you want to take the best possible care of your child, you must first take the best possible care of yourself. Relax, have fun, and focus on you!
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