Empowering Kids with Disabilities, Part 3: Power and Self-Worth
Empowering kids with disabilities doesn’t come naturally to most parents. Most of us spend a considerable time adjusting to unexpected parenting duties after our children are diagnosed. We struggle with our roles as long-term advocates and caregivers. We fight hard to meet our kids’ needs and access the services they need.
Empowering ourselves to be our children’s champions can be a hard-fought, continual battle. Once we finally become empowered and effective caregivers, relinquishing our role and empowering our kids with disabilities to advocate and speak for themselves can be difficult.
And yet our job as parents is to raise our children, whatever their level of disability or special needs, to become as independent as they can be. To give them agency. To teach them to use their voices to complete the purposes God created them to make.
The challenge, of course, is how best to accomplish that task.
During my life as a parent, teacher, and now grandparent, I have found the 5 basic needs of humans described by psychiatrist William Glasser to be a useful tool. I’m writing this five-part series to show how meeting those needs helps empower our kids who have disabilities and special needs. The first post in the series dealt with the basic need of survival. The second examined love and belonging. In this post we move on to the basic human need for power.
The William Glasser Institute website describes this basic need by saying, “We are hard-wired to learn, appreciate feelings of competence, value, and power. We feel good when we see the fruits of our effort and a continual failure to succeed in turn leads to dis-empowerment.”
To read the rest of Empowering Kids with Disabilities, Part Three visit the Key Ministry website.
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Photo by Will Francis on Unsplash
Jolene Philo is the author of several books for the caregiving community. She speaks at parenting and special needs conferences around the country. Sharing Love Abundantly With Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, which she co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman, was released in August of 2019 and is available at local bookstores, their bookstore website, and Amazon. See Jane Sing!, the second book in the West River cozy mystery series, which features characters affected by disability, was released in November of 2022.
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