Coping with The Sacrifices of Being the Parent of a Special Needs Child

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They were right when they said that having a child changes a person’s life. Children are by far one of the greatest treasures a person can be given, but with that gift comes a lot of sacrifices. Throughout parenthood, adults on some level end up sacrificing their time, money, personal relationships, social life, career, dreams, and heart. You’d give anything to make sure that your kids have a happy, healthy, and prosperous life. So you can only imagine how these sacrifices are multiplied when your child is diagnosed with a medical or developmental disorder.

The Emotional Despair

Finding out that your child has special needs is an emotional time for parents. You love your child with all your heart and to find out that they won’t have a “normal” childhood hurts. You grieve, not only for the complications your child may endure but for the sacrifices that you’ll have to make as their caretaker. Many parents become stressed and overwhelmed by the news and the great strength it will take to press forward. Getting through this requires that they change their expectations and learn how to provide their kid with the best life possible, without sacrificing themselves in the process. Here is some advice:


One of the first things you sacrifice is your emotions. Many parents of special needs kids feel as if they must hold in their own feelings for the sake of their child’s. After all, it is their child who is going through the pain, various treatments, surgeries, social isolation, and overall complexities of life. Who are you to feel anything?

While it probably isn’t best that you break out in tears in front of your child when they’re in pain, struggling, or feeling down, that doesn’t mean you should shut your own feelings out. Take time to grieve and not be ashamed of it. Talk to a therapist, join a support group with other parents, or vent by writing in a journal. Keeping it all in will only result in an emotional breakdown which makes it impossible for you to give your kids the care they need.


Every adult knows that raising a child is costly, however, when your child has special needs, these costs go through the roof. From prescriptions and medical visits to surgeries and medical supplies, there are a lot of things you’ll have to cover out of your own pocket. This essentially reduces the money you have to provide other things your family needs to survive.

Caring for a special needs child is expensive, but there is a lot of help out there. Parents can look on sites like to find discounts on medical supplies, they can look at their insurance provider for coverage of medications and procedures, open health savings account to save on copays and out of pocket medical expenses, and look into government programs for other assistance.

Social Life

When you have a child your social life takes a back seat. You may have friends that you talk to from time to time, however, your interactions aren’t quite as frequent. Your schedule essentially revolves around the kid’s schedule leaving you with very little time to go out and socialize. Penciling in outings for healthy children may be as simple as asking someone to watch them for a few hours. However, when you have a special needs child, you can’t just hire a babysitter from your neighborhood to watch them.

You still need time to do things you enjoy. It gives you a break from the pressures of being a caretaker and allows you to be a more effective parent. You can train certain willing family members on how to care for your child so that they are alright while you’re out having fun. You can also consider hiring a nurse for a few hours who has specialized experience with special needs children.


Many adults end up sacrificing their careers in order to raise their children. Instead of going to school for years to become a lawyer or doctor, a parent may have to accept a “job” that pays the bills for the family to survive. When you have a special needs child, however, you sacrifice more often. Unpredictable issues with your child could cause you to have to take off more time than the average parent which can make it difficult to hold down a job.

Parents of special needs kids might consider looking for a job that coincides with what their child’s needs are. Working at a school for special needs children or at a non-profit that supports treatment for children with medical disorders would suffice. You might also consider starting a home base business.

There is nothing easy about being a parent. These trials and tribulations are only heightened when your kid has special needs. You can get through this. Caring for your child goes beyond making sure they take their medicine, attend doctor’s visits, and undergo surgeries. It also means caring for yourself. Yes, sacrifice comes with the territory of parenting, but if you’re going to give your child the best life possible, sacrificing your very being is the last thing you want to do.



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