They may be diagnosed with complex disorders such as Autism, Asperger’s, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Tourette’s, or Mental Retardation.
All are challenging to identify reliably, and even more challenging to treat effectively.
The understanding that was shared within the group was very powerful.
It was especially helpful because these parents are very isolated and despite information that may be available, still end up feeling as if their struggles are unique and represent their failures as parents.
I had no magic solutions and rarely an idea that they hadn’t already heard from some other professional.
Yet, as the meeting drew to a close they were so thankful!
The main plea was the need to have ongoing support groups.
There was talk about the lack of respite from the 24/7 challenge of caring for these children.
Each of these disorders has books, websites, and national organizations devoted to them.
Marital problems are reported to be present to a greater degree because of the lack of time for nurturing the marriage plus the frequent problem of parents disagreeing on what needs to be done for the child.
Another source of tension is that often one parent is more effective in managing the difficult behaviors.
Then there is the challenge of trying to reduce the jealousy that results when so much attention is focused on one child as well as the frequent limitations on doing common family activities.
It is clear that siblings need an opportunity to voice their questions, concerns, and feelings.
A particularly important issue is helping them identify their negative feelings as normal and reduce the guilt that often complicates their behavior within the family and toward their sibling.