We’ve all seen the traditional parenting books that tell us how bad we are failing as parents if we give into our children’s tantrums or demands. 

That somehow we’re ruining our children, promoting and encouraging bad behavior and in turn rewarding them which results in miniature spoiled brats.  

But wait! 

Those books don’t apply to us because we’re dealing with the ‘unwritten.’  

Uncharted territory called ‘do the best you can while on the special needs road.’ 

There is no rulebook for parenting a child with special needs.  

And in fact each child’s needs and abilities can differ so greatly from one child to the next that it would be impossible to define all situations in a handbook.  

Special needs parenting is not a one-size-fits-all and each parent needs to be free from criticism for doing what he or she thinks is best at the time. 

If you know that your child is going to have a massive meltdown bigger than a two ton truck, and the only way to prevent it is feeding them french fries at breakfast right before you’re ready to leave for therapy, then do it.   

If you have to buy your child a $3 action figure to get out of Target because the cries will turn into screams, it’s okay.  

If your child demands to watch a DVD on TV six times in a row, then “let it be.”

There is nothing worse than receiving unsolicited advice about special needs parenting – or parenting in general – when people have no concept of your individual child’s needs.  

We’re doing the best we can, and sometimes our children have no other way to self-soothe or to express their wants and desires (many are non-verbal) other than to act out whether that be through tantrums and cries. 

Are we promoting bad behavior?  

Depends on the expert you consult.  

But consult another special needs parent and we’ll give you a high five for just trying to get through it.  

There is no right way or wrong way to go about this.  

Give yourself permission to know that you’re doing the best job possible.  

Giving into your child with special needs is not the worst thing on earth that you could be doing.  

And sometimes absolutely necessary – especially if you have a child that gets so upset that they can induce vomiting and become an aspiration risk.  

Sometimes it is necessary to keep a whole wide array of tools in our back pocket for situations - some anticipated and some that can catch you off-guard to really assist your child through what to them is a very traumatic situation. 

Be gentle with yourself and know that you are not ruining your child by needing to give in. 

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