The Mighty Logo

16 Secrets of Dads of Children With Special Needs

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

After having one of our Mighty contributors explain six secrets of special needs moms, we got to wondering what secrets dads of children with special needs have. So The Mighty asked some of these fathers what they wish the world understood about them. This is what they had to say.

1. “We cry. We worry. There are times we want to scream. Is it hard sometimes? Sure. But the good outweighs the bad. We’re tough as nails with a tender heart.”


2. “It’s your life 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Everywhere he goes, I go. That’s my job, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

3. “I need time with my buddies. Please invite me, too. I’ve had friends tell me they don’t invite me to things because they feel bad about taking me away from my family.”

4. “As strong as I may seem on the outside, I’m scared as hell on the inside for what the future holds for my little guy.”


5. “At times it can be lonely because others don’t understand and back away.”

6. “I don’t find anything more or less challenging. I’d be parenting and loving my daughter the same way regardless. The future is bright, and I can’t wait for what’s next!” 


7. “I worry about everything with my son. I worry about if he’s being treated well at school, will he get married… I read every bit of literature, blog etc. that I can… I’m with him every step of the way.”


8. “[The] fear of the future, when I’m no longer here, brings me to my knees. I love my boy so much; I want to protect him with every fiber of my heart and soul.”

9. “It will never be what you had expected fatherhood to be. It will be much better. Not easier, mind you, but certainly better.”


10. “I wish [others] would stop feeling sorry for us and saying, ‘It must be hard work.’ We get on with it and never complain… I have never complained. Ever.”


11. “It’s hard balancing everything, but it’s lots of fun watching your children accomplish something new. Your career aspirations take a back seat to much more important stuff.”

12. “Treat me the same as you would every other father. Treat my daughter the same as any other child. Educate your children about special needs children. Teach your children to celebrate differences, not accentuate them. My hope is not for me but for my child, who loves you and your child.”


13. “We’re not the [reckless] dads you see on TV. We’re fighting and praying and supporting our kids with everything we have.” 


14. “I am much, much more than you might ever imagine a father ought to be.”

15. “No matter if I’m tired, angry, upset, sad or just having a bad day, one smile from my daughter makes everything better.”

16. “We wish others could understand what a privilege it is to serve someone who needs just you.”


What would you add? Let us know in the comments below.

Originally published: June 17, 2015
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home