Write me: rebecca@positive-parents.org

I’m honored to welcome Dayna to my website today to talk about loving courageously through sensory challenges. Dayna is the author at Lemon Lime Adventures and owner of Project Sensory.

When you become a parent, you see images of happy families everywhere. You see mothers hugging their children and children smiling. You can’t help but notice the happy families in the park, the children laughing at restaurants and you start to form an image of what your family will look like. However sometimes things don’t turn out picture perfect. In fact, sometimes parenting can throw you for a loop and you have to learn how to love courageously through special needs such as sensory challenges.
All parenting has its struggles, that is for sure. This series is a great example of struggles that parents face everyday in their quest to love unconditionally. Today I would like to share a few ways that we have learned to love unconditionally through our son’s sensory challenges.

What are Sensory Challenges?

While all children have some sensory preferences and dislikes, some children have more difficulty processing the world around them. In this case, their brains and sensory systems have a hard time integrating all of the input they are receiving and making sense of that input. This can result in a variety of sensory challenges and even a child who is diagnosed with sensory processing disorder.
Every day things that most children and parents take for granted can become a struggle. Getting out the door with socks that feel “right”, finding a food your child will actually eat, having a child who constantly pushes and jumps… these are just a few of the challenges that your child might face.

Love Courageously Though Sensory Challenges

Educate Yourself, Your Family, and Your Community | When you are starting on your journey to parent a child with sensory challenges, you might find that you feel lost and you feel like a terrible parent. Its important to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can on both positive parenting strategies and sensory processing needs.
Recognize Sensory Needs | This is the tricky part. Its important to remember that children everywhere have needs and wants that are the root cause of their misbehavior and their frustrations. When your child has sensory challenges it can be very hard to determine the what is sensory and what is misbehavior. Learning to recognize your child’s triggers (such as loud spaces, new people, certain textures, etc) can help you and your child feel more connected and positive.
Be Consistent | As with any good positive parenting routine, you want to start with consistency and clear expectations. A child with sensory challenges may have difficulty flying by the seat of their pants or making changes on a whim. They might even have meltdowns that are a result of unclear expectations.
Acceptance | As you learn more and more about your child’s sensory needs, you will learn that many of their behaviors and attitudes come with the territory. This doesn’t mean you are making excuses for them or allowing them to get away with things. Instead, you are learning to accept the things your child struggles with and what they are successful at. It will allow you to let go of some of the behaviors that bother you the most. A good example, is “look at me”. While you might have grown up learning that this is the only acceptable form of respect from a child, you might have to accept and adjust your expectations if your child is unable to hold appropriate eye contact.
Let it Go | Parenting a child with sensory challenges might mean you get yelled at, deal with meltdowns frequently, and feel like a rotten parent. One of the best things I have learned to do while parenting my child with big emotions is to let it go, not take it personally and realize that my child is having a hard time not giving me one. It is important to let go of the blame, the guilt and the frustrations so that you are able to show your child the love they deserve (even on the hard days).
Today’s Challenge : Do you know your child’s sensory triggers? Can you recognize them and help your child cope through these challenges? Over the next few days, take quick notes on your child’s meltdowns or frustrations. What happened before, during and after? Do you notice any patterns that you can try to adjust so that you and your child are happier and able to love courageously together?

 Headshot-family-150x150Dayna is a National Board Certified teacher, with over 12 years of experience in early childhood education, who now homeschools her 3 children, one of which struggles with Sensory Processing Disorder. She is the author at Lemon Lime Adventures and owner of Project Sensory, where she is dedicated to sharing real life stories with parents and educators about the pretty and the not so pretty days involved in raising children. You can connect with Dayna over on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, and G+!


Read the post that inspired the Love Courageously challenge.

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