In most cases, we leave fathers out of the parenting issues faced, we forget that fathers come under the category of parents, and they tend to suffer equally as mothers. This happens because the fathers are surrounded by multiple stigmas in society. They are expected to be strong and manly, and mothers are expected to take care of the child. Due to this, fathers feel threatened to express their concerns as a parent towards their children, and those who do, fear to ask for help for their emotional well-being as they are not allowed to show weakness.
There are several difficulties faced by fathers of special needs children, including emotional stress, financial strain, restricted access to assistance, time and energy demands, effects on family dynamics, a lack of respite care, social isolation, and uncertainty about the future. To handle these challenges, fathers must seek help and engage in self-care.
Self-Care for Fathers
Here are some self-care tips for fathers about how they can take care of themselves while taking care of the need of their special child:
1. Seek support - Establish relationships with communities or support groups composed of other parents of children with special needs. Sharing difficulties, suggestions, and experiences with like-minded people may help you feel supported emotionally and gain insightful information.
2. Take breaks - It's necessary to prioritize self-care and take pauses. Plan regular breaks for yourself to rejuvenate and engage in your favorite hobbies. It might be physical activity, reading, or just being outside.
3. Practice mindfulness or meditation - Add mindfulness or meditation exercises to your daily routine. These can aid in stress reduction, attention enhancement, and emotional well-being promotion. Deep breathing exercises or a short period of solitary can help.
4. Delegate tasks and seek help from others - Never be afraid to seek assistance when needed. Share tasks with your spouse, family, or other reliable people. Consider hiring respite care services to get some brief reprieve and make sure you have time for self-care.
5. Stay informed about resources and your child's condition - Learn as much as possible about the ailment, possible therapies, and services for your kid. Being informed can assist you in making wise choices and effectively advocating for your child's needs.
6. Prioritize and nurture relationships - Maintain a robust support system and value your connections. Spend time interacting with your spouse, other kids, relatives, and friends. Sharing experiences and being open with one another may improve relationships and reduce stress.
7. Set realistic expectations - Recognise that you are doing your best, and remember to hold yourself and your child to reasonable standards. Celebrate little successes, concentrate on your development, and cultivate self-compassion.
8. Take care of your physical health - Eat a balanced diet, exercise frequently, and prioritize sleep. Your mental health and energy levels might benefit from maintaining good physical health.
9.Seek professional help - Don't be reluctant to seek professional assistance if you find yourself dealing with stress, worry, or other mental health problems. A therapist or counselor may offer direction, encouragement, and coping mechanisms for whatever difficulties you may be experiencing.
So while taking care of special child needs, the special child's father must take care of themselves too, regardless if they have to go against the norms of society to get one.
Over here at Solh Wellness, we provide a “Stress Management Therapy” that addresses these issues and has been proven quite beneficial for the father of the special child. We also have a support group for the same. We understand your needs and we are here to assist you in your mental wellness journey.