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5 Ways Single Parents of Kids on the Autism Spectrum Can Manage Stress

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Everyone encounters stress in their lives. Some might have to battle stress on a daily basis and others once in a while. When it comes to single parents of children with disabilities, the stress and struggle can overshadow our every move.

My daughter is a 7-year-old on the autism spectrum. When she was younger, I took her to multiple child developmental doctors, hoping to hear any encouraging words about her potential. But instead, I was told that autism just meant she would forever be nonverbal, that my simplest wish to have her voice her opinion was far-fetched. I neglected to believe them. I needed to try for her sake and mine. I put her through hours and hours of therapy. Two years after, my baby girl started to communicate.

That is only one of many situations I had to endure as a single parent. The stress is neverending, but we need to control it before it drags us down. Here are some things that helped me manage my stress:

  1. Self-care: the only way to ensure that you’re taking care of your little ones in the best way possible, is to make sure you’re taking care of yourselves. Go out once in a while. Do something you like. Unwind you deserve it.
  2. Meditate: this only works if you believe it will. Buy yourself semi-precious stones if you believe in energy healing (these seemed to work for me). Just do whatever it takes to remind yourself that you too matter.
  3. Accept it: we’ve all encountered changes that our children have to go through. Sometimes those changes are just beyond our control. Just like them, we need to allow ourselves to adapt to those changes and move forward.
  4. Eliminate negativity: whether it comes to you in a form of a person or a bad comment, know that you have the utmost power to protect your mental health at all costs. Let go of people or things that put you down.
  5. Think ahead: stay positive, believe in yourself and your little one. You’re both precious human beings, and you should be proud every minute of every day.

Just remember, you’re doing this alone. Yes it’s hard, and struggles will creep on you when you least expect them, but nobody is more perfect to be around your child than you. We’ve been blessed by our little miracles and every tiny bit of progress, or even a heartfelt smile we see on their faces is capable of dissolving all the stress and struggle we go through.

Getty image by Catherine Falls.

Originally published: February 15, 2022
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