Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Ways to stay connected with your partner when raising SEN kids


As parents of kids with additional needs, life can put a lot of pressure on relationships. We all have to deal with stresses and strains in our daily lives, however, when these get built up over a considerable amount of time, they can end up causing lasting damage to our relationships and to those that we love.

I read an article which looked at how couples with disabled children coped with their relationship. One survey of couples raising a child with ADHD found that 65% were divorced or separated or experienced marital problems. 90% of parents with a child with learning difficulties say they don’t get to spend enough time together.

Another study found that more SEN children live in lone parent families than couple-headed families and then have additional stresses involved with this like having to organise how often a mother or how often can a father see his child.

Ultimately my other half and I rely on each other so much when things with the kids get overwhelming.  So what do we do to reconnect and come back together?

Remember why we fell in love

There must have been something that drew people together as a couple all of the way back when. Talking about old times remind us about why you fell in love with each other to start with. It may feel as though we are far removed from the people you were back then, however, we are both still those people.

We may have got something from each other in the early days that we might have both lost sight of or begun taking for granted. Talking to each other about these things and remembering some of the good times that we shared before the kids whether it's trips, days out, events or just a shared interest we had.

Try not to assign blame

Relationships are complicated and the moment we start assigning blame it gets heated.  We've had  work-related stress and felt the challenges of parenting our kids together and it is okay to acknowledge these things.  But it is not helpful to throw blame at each other as it will often leads to raised voices.  When I feel like this, I try and take a step back and most of all I'm quick to apologise.  I didn't mean that.. I'm sorry I said it because I got angry.

Most of the time it's actually the system we are frustrated at or that we simply don't know what to do about something or where to find help.

Seek help or support

So find help where you can.  If stress is very high everything gets tense.  I share my concerns with my mum usually or another independent family member I trust.

There can be support for your family from a support or social worker that can give you a break and a breather can be enough to get your patience back or get some perspective.

When communication breaks down, you may not be able to listen to each other in an effective manner anymore. Break downs in your relationship can be very uncomfortable to talk about, and it will often become very easy to start deflecting or avoiding talking about painful subjects.

A qualified couple’s therapist to help you to start communicating in an effective way.  The idea is often to get your partner to listen to you, and for you to listen to your partner. Better communication can help you to understand each other again.

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