We all have our parenting strengths, and families often go through challenges that test us. There are the small but normal developmental hurdles like the first time your child sees what will happen when they hit mommy in the face or try and cut off their own hair. There are the slightly cringe-worthy times they fall off a swing or fail a test in school. But then there are those heart-lurching, life-shifting moments when a threshold is crossed, and everyone involved has to adjust.
Parenting is a tough job. It can be thankless, isolating, and there’s no overtime pay despite it being a 24/7 role. Parenting a special needs baby is that, times about 100. From the outside looking in, I’m certain that parents who see us at parks and activities are thinking “what a shame.” I get it. I really do. I would have thought the same 4 years ago. But now, after parenting my little chicken who happens to have a rare syndrome for 3+ years, I don’t. Not anymore.
Communication is key for us all. It enables growth, self-confidence and drives our ability to live an enriched life. As teens transition from childhood to adulthood it can sometimes be difficult to maintain open lines of communication. But when a teen is living with a chronic disease, such as type 1 diabetes, it becomes critical to keeping them healthy.
Many teens with type 1 diabetes are often in denial. They don’t always manage their condition optimally because they just want to be normal teenagers. I interviewed Deirdre Brough, National Director, Corporate Partnerships at JDRF. Brough is a parent of a young adult who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a teen. In speaking to Brough about what life is like for parents of teens with diabetes, it became abundantly clear that friend-to-friend and parent-to-teen communication and respect can be very helpful for all involved.
My son can legally drive a vehicle. Not just any vehicle, but a manual transmission hatchback that has been my husband’s commuter car for the last five years.
Last time I looked my son was driving his matchbox school bus on carefully crafted track around the house. Now he’s taking a car on roads with stop signs, turn lanes, potholes and … OTHER DRIVERS. Sometime in the last ten years he’s grown taller and stronger than me and old enough to drive. Surely just last week I was teaching him to ride a bike and wasn’t it just yesterday he started middle school?
So you’re thinking about starting a family. And you’re trying to start a family. And trying. And trying. And you’re at the point where, if one more person tells you to “relax” so “it will just happen”, you might lose your S@#* completely.
You’re thinking about seeing a doctor, or you’ve seen one, or three. The idea of IVF has come up. Or maybe it’s come up for your sister, or your best friend. You have questions, but you have no one to ask. You’re scared it won’t work, you can’t afford it, that it’s going ‘too far’. You hate needles. You’ve begun to wonder if there’s a deeper, cosmic reason you can’t have a baby. There are countless reasons why it’s impossible to even try. And then you suddenly start to feel like you’re just done with it all.
Any parent who has ever taken a small kid to a large zoo, amusement park, museum, or who just has a reason to fear their kid might make a mad dash or decide to play hide-and-seek in public, has worried about what would happen if you got separated from the child. Fear and stress can make grown-ups forget important phone numbers, sometimes a lost child has trouble with their own name.
Now imagine your child has an allergy or other medical condition that causes worry. Perhaps your child is older but still non-verbal or is otherwise unable to communicate with strangers.
No matter what their age or abilities, we want our children to have the opportunity to fully experience the world. How to do that, and still keep them safe?
Is life overwhelming sometimes? Ever feel the need for a refuge? Want one small space to call your own? If that sounds like you, sister, you might need a ‘she-shed’, a detached one-room bungalow with the sole purpose of providing comfort, privacy and serenity. Start planning, and before you know it, you’ll be gently closing your door on the rest of the world.
As your child gets older and more independent, the summer break takes on a whole different vibe. Your now-teenager has successfully navigated middle school, some of high school, and possibly even completed Drivers’ Ed (eek!) At this point, they’re likely pretty entrenched in their daily routine: getting to class, completing assignments, attending practice, and (hopefully) doing their chores. And then summer arrives and it all falls apart. Your once busy teenager suddenly has hours and hours of time to play with and no direction creating a situation that can quickly escalate out of moms control—so here are some summer tips for moms with teens to help nip it in the bud right from the start.
The school year is drawing to a close and summer will be here in a minute, with it the buzz of schoolkids ready to burst from the confines of their routine and be free. Never fear: a successful summer transition is within your reach. The change from classroom to summer setting need not be jarring—for you or your child (or your teen). Doing a bit of prep before summer’s arrival will ease you all into this change and set you up for a summer of grand memories and structured good times.