I am so jealous of my neighbour, or sibling who has it so easy raising typical children- I hear it a lot among parents who are raising children with special needs. I admit it, I have felt that green-eyed monster pop up as well- a lot. Especially while struggling with my own depression. I have had many moments of looking at a child who is the same age as my son, talking about going out with friends, and anything that pre-teen boys would talk about, while I am feeling sad and envious of his parents for having it “so easy”. My son still speaks like he is 5 and only about colours, and he acts like he is 5 (at home anyway, at school he is much more mature). However, even though it is natural for parents raising kids with special needs to be envious of other parents who are raising typical kids- what good are those negative feelings of jealousy? Personally speaking, it made my depression worse and as a result, I could not see any blessings that I have, clearly. There are 4 good tips for parents who raising children with special needs to banish envy.
1. Acknowledge your Blessings. It is understandable to feel defeated and feel like you have been handed the short end of the stick over and over again. Especially when you are facing the struggles on a daily basis with raising children with special needs. What you can do is accept that in some areas in life you have been handed the short end, but I can bet there are many areas in your life where you have been given the upper hand. If you look at those areas, I am sure you will be able to find the blessings you do have. It doesn’t make the struggles you have disappear, but you may be able to see you don’t have the short end with everything in life. It may help make you feel like life is a little less unfair.
2. Those Parents May have Typical Kids But they Also have Challenges you Know Nothing About. You need to understand one thing. If someone appears to have “the perfect life”, I can guarantee that if you saw what was really happening with that individual behind closed doors- you would be surprised to see what kind of challenges he or she is facing. And they would most likely be challenges that you are not facing, nor will ever have to face. I am in no way encouraging you bask in other people’s misfortunes. I am just making you aware that just because someone appears to have it easier such as parents who are raising typically developing kids- it does not mean they are challenge-free. No one is. If you keep that in mind the next time you feel that green-eyed monster come out, it may help tame it.
2. Accept the Fact that Some are Going to Have it Easier than You. Like I just stated, everyone has challenges of some kind. However, some people will just plain have it easier than you overall. It’s life and yes, it may be unfair but it is life. Being jealous and hateful of that individual is not going to help you and your mental state. Those feelings of envy will rob you of the energy you need.
3. Forget Those Who you Envy, and Work with the Hand you were Dealt. The best thing anyone can do with whatever challenge he or she is facing is to accept the life that he or she has been given the best way possible. Parents who are raising children with special needs need to go out and look around for resources that can give them the most relief. Some may think there is nothing out there but I always believe if you look hard enough, and ask a lot of questions, you will be linked to resources that can make your hand a little bit easier to work with.
I still struggle with envy, but believe me, if I keep those 4 things in mind, it does help tame that green-eyed monster.