Monday, June 29, 2015

Dating Rules for Parents of Children with Disabilities

Dating Rules for Parents of Children with Disabilities
Like myself, there are many single parents out there raising children with autism or other disabilities and trying to carve out some small capsule of a social life. For many, that's a difficult, if not laughable task. Most of us have devoted so much of ourselves to our children that we have had few opportunities to get out and mingle. For those who have been lucky enough to build a social outlet, there may be questions about how to successfully navigate the dating scene.
  • Don't go in with too many expectations. Just have fun with it...try to avoid looking for someone or something. The less stress you have while socializing, the more you will enjoy your experience. 
  • Try not to feel guilty about having social time. A little separation anxiety is normal,  but as long as your child is in the care of a trusted babysitter, relax a little. 
  • If you meet someone new, don't be too quick to disclose your entire life to them. This may be a major turnoff and be a red flag that you are the needy type.
  • Wait a while before introducing a new guy or girl to the kids. Children who have issues with transitions or sensory overload (to name a few) may not behave well if you bring home someone new. Needless to say, no one will be happy in this case.
  • Talk to your child in an age-appropriate manner if you foresee introducing someone new into the picture. Particularly for younger children,  you may want to use social stories as a means of communicating the new situation. 
  • Reinforce your love and commitment to your child so that they don't begin to feel left out or abandoned as you are spending time away from them.
Just remember, creating a social life for yourself is nothing to feel guilty about. Being able to go out of the house from time to time is a healthy practice that will allow you to de-escalate from your everyday stress, giving you a healthier outlook on life.

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