I recently got together with John Gray, a good friend and colleague, to discuss the unique challenges facing parents of children with special needs. I approached John because through my work with children with special needs over the past 30 years, I have witnessed the remarkable demands placed on these parents that often lead to great stresses on the relationship. John and I have great admiration for these parents and wish to contribute to them and through them to their children in any way we can.
About John Gray
As you may already know, John Gray revolutionized our understanding of how men and women relate to each other, recognizing and describing the differences between men and women. John has shown us how to take advantage of this knowledge to help all of us have happier, more successful, and long-lasting, loving relationships.
John’s many books, including his bestselling Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and his videos, workshops, and seminars provide practical insights to effectively manage stress and improve relationships at all stages of life and love.
Extraordinary Relationships for Parents of
Children With Special Needs
Any couple knows how the blessing of a child being born into the family can challenge the relationship between his or her parents. When the child has special needs, these challenges grow exponentially, stressing the relationship in ways most couples are not prepared for. It is no surprise, therefore, that some studies suggest that the rate of divorce amongst couples with children with special needs is higher than in the general population.
Both John and I know that with the right tools, parents of children with special needs can learn additional ways to relate to each other that will strengthen their connection and love and help them become a more powerful team in providing their child with the best future possible.
Our intention with this series of blog posts is to help change this trend of higher divorce rates by first recognizing the extraordinary challenges placed on your relationship, and then by providing practical and straight forward tools to work with. My conversation with John has resulted in 20 tips for parents of children with special needs.
We invite you, the parent of a child with special needs, to give yourself permission to shift your focus, from time to time, from your child to yourself, to your spouse, and to your relationship.
View the video clips of my interview with John Gray and read our Parenting Tips on the HuffPost:
John Gray with Anat Baniel: Tip 1 – Communication and Managing Stress
John Gray With Anat Baniel: 20 Suggestions on Parenting a Child With Special Needs – Tip 1
John Gray With Anat Baniel: Tip 2 – Learning How to Communicate at Difficult Times – Taking a “Time Out”
Time Outs Are Not Just for Children
John Gray with Anat Baniel: Tip 3 – Recognizing Defensiveness – Learning How to Use “Buffer Phrases” to Soften Communication
How to Win in the Blame Game
John Gray with Anat Baniel: Tip 4 – Making Decisions When You and Your Partner Disagree
Starting Over Is Easy to Do
John Gray with Anat Baniel: Tip 5 – How To Remain Together
Beating the Odds of Divorce When Your Child Has Special Needs
John Gray with Anat Baniel: Tip 6 – From Fixing to Connecting With Your Special Needs Child
Why Trying to “Fix Your Child Is Not a Good Idea
John Gray with Anat Baniel: Tip 7 – What to Do About Feeling Guilty When You Have a Child With Special Needs
It’s Not Your Fault, Really!
John Gray with Anat Baniel: Tips 8 & 9 – Men and Women Manage Stress Differently & Your Relationship Has Special Needs
Is Stress Hurting Your Relationship? What Can You Do About It?
John Gray with Anat Baniel: Tip 10 – When Your Child With Special Needs Starts Acting Out
Is Your Child Acting Out? The 4 ‘R’s’ That May Be Causing It
John Gray with Anat Baniel: Tips 12 & 13 – The Art of Asking for Help and Effective Communication
Is Your Partner Disappointing You? 4 Steps to Getting What You Need and Want
John Gray with Anat Baniel: Tips 14 & 15 – Communicate Without Complaining and Recognizing Her Need to Vent
Are You Just Venting and He Feels Criticized? How You Can Turn This Around
John Gray with Anat Baniel: Tips 16 & 17 – The Venus Talk for Her and What to Do for His Suffering
Coping With Stress: Hers and His
John Gray with Anat Baniel: Tips 18 & 19 – Managing Our Desire to be Perfect and Becoming an Enlightened Parent
Try Enlightenment Instead of Perfection
John Gray with Anat Baniel: Tip 20 – Making Time for Romance for the Busy Parent
Reduce Stress: Make Time for Romance in 3 Easy Steps
We’d love to hear how these tips work for you! Anat Baniel