Special Needs Parenting Pitfall: Therapy = Perfection
My daughter has been very resistant to therapy for several months now. We talked about it, and I addressed the issues that seemed to be bothering her. Her therapists talked to her too. Then we took a summer break, thinking that would help her to be refreshed and ready to start again. But as summer ended and I began talking about evaluations and a return to therapy, she became more unhappy, anxious, and agitated. I tried talking to her, but she couldn’t seem to articulate what was bothering her. Until one day, she did.
She was sitting at the kitchen table drawing, and I told her it was time to add therapy back into our weekly schedule. She started crying, and I asked her what was wrong. And the truth finally came out.
She said, “I’m never going to get out of therapy!” When I asked her why she felt that way, she answered, “Because to get out of therapy you have to be perfect, and I’m never going to be perfect!”
Ouch. Apparently, I had done a terrible job of explaining the purpose of therapy and what it takes to “be done.” I explained about using therapy as a way to get caught up in areas where she’s behind, about how it’s easier to do that when you’re younger rather than older, about how catching up will make life a little easier for her as she gets older, and about how you graduate out of therapy when you’ve met the goals that show you’re caught up in the areas you were weak in.
She looked up at me with tears streaming down her face and said, “So I don’t have to be perfect?” I sat down next to her, fighting tears myself, and told her that I don’t have the right to expect perfection from her. I haven’t achieved it myself.
What special needs parenting pitfalls have you experienced? How did you handle them?