A single mom allows readers insight into her deepest fears as a parent of children on the autism spectrum.
Fear is a word that is used often and an emotion felt by most people daily. Fear is the onset of anxiety; it creates doubt, pressure, depression, and frustration. It causes people to procrastinate. Fear destroys dreams. Fear is a powerful four-letter word that can dominate our thoughts process, our mind set, our behavior. The word “fear” can destroy our ability to move forward and our ability to achieve.
As single parents, the unknown is the thing we fear the most. Especially as it relates to our children. The fear becomes even greater if your child has special needs.
People are ashamed to admit they fear anything, especially if they have faith, because many of us have been taught that fear means we doubt God. That we have no hope or no faith. My belief is because we fear, our faith in God increases and we rely on God even more. If we face our fears daily, we achieve and conquer more than we believe we can. We learn, grow, and experience new accomplishments when we face our fears.
From the moment our children enter our lives, fear hits us. We immediately start thinking about our children’s personalities, who they will become, what life holds for them. Will they be popular and have friends? We dream up educational goals and accomplishments for our children.
As parents, we map out our child’s life in our heads before he/she is born. We plan an entire future based on what we want our child to be.
Click here to find out more
Because the world is forever evolving, new fears evolve with every generation. The millennials are the first generation with access to social media. This has become the way they communicate with each other across the world.
These technological inventions bring about a new dimension of fear. As parents, we must be in tune with the way our children communicate and also with whom they communicate. They have been given access to more, and we must set appropriate boundaries. We must educate ourselves about apps and programs that can lead them into danger. A whole new fear to face!
I found, after taking a survey with mothers of typical children and single mothers with special needs children, that most fears are quite similar. Single mothers are afraid of the unknown. Who will my child become? Will they be self-sufficient? Will they go to college? Will they recognize danger? Will they be safe when leaving home? Will they embrace the values they have been taught? How will they survive? Will someone take care of them? Will extended family take care of them if something happens to me? These are questions that circulate particularly in the minds of single parents with children on the spectrum.
Other factors of fear (that preoccupy all parents) are fears to do with children getting older and starting school. Will they be bullied? Will they have friends? Will they face dangerous situations because of social media? Will someone take advantage of them? Will someone try to hurt them? Will they be accepted by others?
We advocate for our children throughout their lives; we sacrifice so much to make sure they receive all the resources possible to help them thrive. Who will make the sacrifices we do, to make sure our children receive the opportunity to add value to this world, if something happens to us? This is the question that haunts a single parent with special needs children everyday. The beauty is knowing that you can only do what you can while you can. This truth helps to conquer fear and look it in the face.
As a single parent of children with special needs, I decided not to allow fear to control me; I only allow it to motivate me to create beautiful experiences.
This article was featured in Issue 127 – Nonverbal Communication