I know at times you feel so helpless and alone as you watch your child struggle. When we give birth and hear our babies cry for the first time from that moment on we want to help them and make everything right for them.
We don’t want them to be ill.
We don’t want them to be unable to eat.
We don’t want them battling for breath.
We don’t want them in pain.
We don’t want them to be the last to meet milestones.
We don’t want them emotionally or physically or socially struggling.
There is something about watching your child struggle that tears your heart in two. That feeling of uselessness, helplessness, having no control over things. That feeling that you should be the one to fix it all for them, comfort them, make it all better…but you can’t. That feeling of not being able to meet your child’s needs, whether that’s feeding them, holding them, carrying them or teaching them. That feeling of having to accept help for the sake of your struggling child.
I’ve been there too.
I know that feeling of failure well. That gut wrenching feeling as a parent when a nurse, therapist, teacher or doctor is the one that gets your child’s first eye contact or enables your child to say their first word. I understand that feeling of being robbed of something that should have been your privilege, not theirs. I’ve experienced that feeling of despair, the wanting to give up, the inadequacy that comes with having a child who is struggling.
I’ve cried so many tears and I’m sure you have too.
No-one wants to be the parents of the child who isn’t talking when all their peers are. No-one wants to be the parents of the child who has failed their six week check up, two year check up and even their pre-school check up. It’s a kick in the teeth for all the hard work and investment in your child when all they see is still a struggling child.
I know the fights. The fights to prove you are a good parent and your child’s struggles are not due to neglect. The fight to get your child help. The fight to be listened to. The fight for the right educational environment for your child to thrive. The fight for basic equipment to help. The fight for support. The mental fight to get through each day.
I know the fears: for the future, for their education, because they are so vulnerable.
When you are the parent of a struggling child it means you struggle too.
Too many judge.
Too many are ignorant.
Too many refuse to understand.
Too many ignore.
Having a struggling child is lonely. It’s isolating. It’s heartbreaking.
But I also know you are doing everything you can and more. Your determination, courage and strength shines through you. No-one could love, encourage or support your child more than you do.
You’ve got this.
My child struggles too. Their struggles may not be the same ones your child faces but that doesn’t matter. We are still in this together.
Stay strong my friend. There will be better days ahead.
Your child may be struggling but that’s not your fault. Hold your head high and show the world who you are.
You are not a failure for having a struggling child.
You are not to blame.
You are a wonderful parent.
Never ever forget that,
A fellow parent of a struggling child.