5 Things Every Special Needs Parent Should STOP Doing

by Monique Duell

If anyone knows how difficult and tedious it is raising a special needs child, it’s ME! Couple that with being a single mother, and if left unchecked, these five unhealthy coping mechanisms that we as mothers or parents allow to manifest in our daily lives could destroy our families and us.

If you’ve done or are doing any of these five things, STOP!!


moniqueAren’t you tired of being tired? How much more money are you going to spend? How many more yeses can you handle? If you say no, are you or your child going to die? Did you know that you are putting yourself at risk to be used and abused?

No amount of money, gifts, or material things can change the fact that you have a child or adult with special needs. The reality of not knowing what the future holds sends us into a tailspin. There’s a fine line between showing love and affection versus trying to make yourself look good on the outside while you’re screaming in pain, guilt and unforgiveness on the inside.

You can’t spend it away, buy it away, or yes it away, so STOP! Make peace with it and forgive yourself and your God, but don’t become the disabilities victim. I know you’re angry, salty, and if you admit it, downright pissed! Been there. Your children can tell that you love them and that you’d give your last breath for them. STOP!


The only time you should ever feel this destructive emotion is when you’ve either committed a crime or sinned. Either way, repentance is the order of the day. YOU are not to blame for why your child has a disability!

Guilt causes all kinds on unhealthy thoughts, feelings, and emotions, such as depression and suicide, both of which had a hold on me for a long time. I was in denial and selfish. Not once did I consider my children’s needs or feelings. It never occurred to me what they’d have to endure for the rest of their lives.

Even if it was your fault, what good does it do to know that? Is it going to make you better or bitter? Guilt will literally kill you. STOP!


If you’ve ever seen or been on a game show, something or someone is to blame for why some lose while others win. Such is life!

Proverbs says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” If you think you are to blame, you make it so. This empty and futile emotion will take you on a roller coaster ride to hell. Again, what solace is it going to bring you or your child with special needs by placing blame? It’s not going to magically erase your child’s disability or condition. STOP!


This should’ve probably been number one on the list. Anger is a human emotion that we were given so that we could discern injustice in any form. It is not intended for us to live in anger, work in it, raise a family in it or sleep beside it in marriage. Why? It is because we lose control of this unruly emotion when we can’t have our way, make sense of a matter, or when we feel or perceive we have been wronged or are in danger.

Having a child with special needs will anger you at times, because it’s not easy or convenient to have to do everything for someone else, every second of the day. Yes, you’re angry and feel slighted! You want to ask, “Why me?”

The anger comes from not being able to “fix” your child. Mothers kiss boo boos and make them better. These boo boos need all the love, patience and support that we can muster.

However, allow yourself to feel. Numbing never works because the numbing agent eventually wears off. Whether it’s sadness or anger, feel it, but don’t give place to it. When it shows up, rebuke it from your life and from your spirit before it destroys your inner and outer peace, joy and happiness. There’s nothing wrong with anger in and of itself. It’s what you do with it that makes all the difference. STOP!


Come out, come out, wherever you are! Some wounds only heal if they’re exposed. Someone out there wants to listen to your story or your testimony. Don’t hide in shame.

Shame says that you are not worthy of a thing. Shame says you are less than and not equal to. You and your child are a good and perfect gift. You are beautiful and you are loved! Never be ashamed of your child or for being his or her parent.

Shame is an underlying form of rejection. I almost let shame cost me both of my sons. I was ashamed to be a single mother and a parent of a child with special needs. I got tired of explaining in an almost commercial tone of voice my son’s Cerebral Palsy and all that jazz. I was tired of folks staring, and their children who hadn’t been taught we don’t all look the same. My son isn’t deformed. He’s just in a wheelchair with all of his limbs properly intact.

Shame is saying that I can’t be seen with you, you embarrass me, I’d rather you stay home, or nobody knows about you. Isn’t that a SHAME? How would you feel if it were you? Think about it. I know society says image is everything and you should look like this or wear that, but if you look at what’s walking up and down the streets nowadays, you should hold your head up high. Your child has just as much right to live and love as you do. Don’t let shame remain. STOP!

You are embarking on a magical journey filled with mystery and suspense. Trust that you will be led to your destiny. Use this as a stepping-stone to find the greatness already placed inside of you before your parents ever got together. You are not a victim. You are VICTORIOUS!

Author: Monique Duell • Date: 2/10/2015 • This article was adapted from the author’s blog at Breaking Free

About the Author

Monique Duell is an Author, Blogger, Speaker and Singer. In April 2014, she published her first inspirational book, How Do I Handle a Special Needs Child? Her book was featured in the winter issue of Legacy in the Making Magazine, where she was featured as one of three “Rising Brilliant Authors.” It is based on her life experience as both a special needs, single mother to her two teenage sons as well as being the sole caregiver to her brother with Autism and Epilepsy. Her youngest son suffers from Spastic Diplegia, a severe form of Cerebral Palsy. Monique is a truly a survivor.

Monique is a contributing writer for Many Kind Regards online writing community, where she candidly writes about a variety of topics. She is a parent contributor for both Parenting Special Needs Magazine and for the non-profit group, Special Shades of Color. In her spare time, she sings with Minister Jeffrey Allen Polk & New Worship. You can check out her blog, Breaking Free. Contact Monique Duell via email

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