We would like to welcome guest bloggers Maurice and A’shanti Tyson. Maurice is a Market Regulator for the largest independent securities regulator in the United States. Ashanti is a Housing Retention Specialist for a Chicago–based social service agency. They are especially proud of their roles as loving parents to their amazing children who happen to have special needs (ADHD, Dandy Walker Syndrome, and Low Vision).
Whenever we tell people that we are working parents of not one, but two special needs children, we get 1 of 2 reactions. The look of sympathy or “Oh my gosh! How do you do it?” Well, after several years, we finally found a system that works (most of the time).
Compromise, patience, and trust are a huge part of any relationship, but crucial when it comes to raising children.
When you have two different people, coming together from two different backgrounds, while trying to raise children with two different sets of needs (whew!) it can become a disaster quickly. Which parent has the right solution? Who is right and who is wrong?
Well … no one is wrong!
Impulsivity continues to be a struggle for Ayjay, our 10-year-old son. He thinks it, he says it. While playing Little Big Planet 2 (a life simulation game) with his sister, we over hear this conversation:
Ayjay: So what?! It’s not even my baby. She cheated on me anyway.
Mom says to dad: Maybe we should have a conversation with Ayjay about relationships?
Dad replies: Maybe we should take the T.V. out of his room because you don’t learn THAT from Nick Jr.?
Hand and eye coordination continues to be a barrier for Dylan, our 11-year-old princess. She has decided that she no longer needs our assistance in the kitchen. This typically leads to lots of messes when Dylan tries to multitask. For example, while walking with her hands full, she completely misses the kitchen table as she tries to put her glass of milk down and take a bite of her cookie. Milk spills all over the floor as the glass shatters.
Dad replies: Maybe she shouldn’t walk and eat at the same time.
The key to a happy solution is compromise!
- So, we have a conversation with Ayjay about his impulsivity and a brief discussion on relationships. We decide he can longer watch movies/television shows that are not intended for children. No more Maury Povich!
- Instead of going to the extreme and getting Dylan a cane, we teach Dylan how to be more aware of her surroundings and have her wait until she gets to the table before she starts eating.
We understand that many of the issues that present themselves are not the fault of our children.
Ayjay wants to always be right (who doesn’t). What do you do when your child pushes a little harder than the average kid to prove he is right? Dylan seeks independence, which can sometimes lead to accidents. We try to have patience, while encouraging those behaviors that are already instilled in them.
Mom can definitely see Ayjay as a lawyer. He has no problem arguing his case with no designs on backing down. However, there is a time to debate and a time to obey. Dad encourages Dylan to be a strong, independent young lady, while teaching her that it doesn’t make her weak to ask for help sometimes.
Our last bit of advice … trust your kids.
There are fears that come with raising special needs children. Will their peers accept them? Will people treat them differently? As parents, we want to protect our children from the big bad world, but we can’t keep them in a bubble. Here are a few tips we’ve learned over the years:
- Don’t assume that every accident or difficulty is a result of their condition.
- Trust when your kids say “I Can.”
- Allow them to be themselves.
We’ve shared some of our success strategies with you as working parents. Share some of yours success strategies as working parents with us!