Encouragement for Parents of Kids with Special Needs: Gentleness

Encouragement for Parents of Kids with Special Needs - Day 8: Gentleness - jenniferajanes.com

Encouragement for Parents of Kids with Special Needs – Day 8: Gentleness

How do you handle the meltdowns—especially the public ones? How do you handle the repetition required to help your child understand your instructions, her school work, the ins and outs of social interactions? How do you handle the questions from your child who has trouble comprehending the world, and from the world that has trouble comprehending your child?

With gentleness.

Proverbs 15:1 stresses the gentle answer instead of a harsh one. My experience as the parent of a child with special needs has proven the truth of this verse. Whether I’m dealing with a child on sensory overload who is melting down or a person who is asking rude questions, I try to respond with gentleness. In my experience, staying calm and responding gently works better than demanding compliance or a sarcastic reply to the person who isn’t being kind towards my child or me.

Did I always practice gentleness? Absolutely not! There are still occasions when I don’t respond in gentleness and kindness, but even if the situation doesn’t blow up in my face, I always end up feeling guilty and ashamed of myself.

The big payoff for me to be gentle is that my child responds better to me when I’m calm and quiet than when I raise my voice or act harshly. When she’s disturbed by my demeanor, not only does it make it more difficult to get control of the situation, but my relationship with her is damaged as she tries to sort through my feelings of frustration and exasperation, which look like anger—aimed at her!

When dealing with strangers, I find that gentleness is often off-putting. Usually, a calm response to a tacky remark or thoughtless question settles the matter, but when it doesn’t, quietly leaving the situation is often a better response for me than arguing with them, which makes me angry (even if it doesn’t affect them that way). Staying gentle with strangers also helps my child because I remain steady for them in a situation that could be very stressful—for both of us.

Ultimately, I’m not responsible for how the other person responds. I’m only responsible for myself, and I choose to be gentle. It works better for my child and strengthens our relationship.

Father, help me to be gentle in my dealings with my child and with others who don’t understand my child. Help me to behave in ways that won’t confuse my child and that will build a strong relationship between us. Amen.

Thank you for joining me for this 10-day series of Encouragement for Parents of Kids with Special Needs. Join me tomorrow as we explore Self-Control.

Other posts in this series:

If you’re looking for more great content by some amazing bloggers, please check out iHomeschool Network’s August 2013 Hopscotch! iHomeschool Network's Autumn 2013 Hopscotch

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6 Responses to Encouragement for Parents of Kids with Special Needs: Gentleness

  1. Rebecca says:

    Calm and gentle, not spiteful or tacky. I think the first comes from a heart focused on Christ – one that is humble and knows we all fall short. The latter – is defensive and unfortunately the one most often seen as we live in a society bent on entitlements…and so many are frustrated. Oh, back to the prayer closet… to find grace and mercy. To be gentle and loving.

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