Published on 31st January, 2022 by Dr. Sanveen Kang
Dr. Sanveen Kang, Director & Clinical Psychologist at Psych Connect, talks about raising children with special needs in a live forum on Talking Point Singapore. This is a topic close to our heart.
Parenting is a journey we can never prepare for. When parents have children with special needs, this journey becomes more unpredictable and ladened with emotions such as guilt, anxiety, depression, anger and grief. At various points of their parenting journey, these parents grieve the life they thought they would have had or the dreams they had for their children. But they also hold on to hope and dreams that their child will have a happy and meaningful life and, work very hard at try and achieve this. More specific to parents of children with special needs is disenfranchised grief.
This is when society invalidates our grief. Society holds certain expectations about grief, what to grief for and how to grief. With normal grief, there are rituals so there is closure. But with disenfranchised grief, you can’t grieve fully as you need to fit into a larger society and their attitude. When parenting a child with special needs, the grief is ongoing as the trigger is perpetual. These parents do not feel safe enough to go to others seek support, as they might see this as complaining about their child. There is also shame associated with this. As such, this experience is isolating and leads to cumulated emotional pain.
So, parenting a child with special needs comprises of many complex emotions and journeys. It takes a lot of from parents. When parents feel alone in these journeys, some parents start to experience caregiver burnout or compassion fatigue.
Learn more about what we can do as individuals and a community to support these families. If you missed it, watch it here.
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