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NURTURE Your Relationships

Welcome to Spring!

Thankfully, spring is a season that breathes new life into the world around us.
It increases our motivation to nurture and care for things, so they will flourish.
Although it may be too soon to begin planting our gardens and flowers just yet, we can always work on cultivating growth in our relationships with others.
This month let’s NURTURE one another and see what begins to bloom!

Read on, to discover how the simplest acts of care can transform the lives of our children and make us feel good in the process.  Also, included, are some tips on how you can nurture the potential of your child with a disability as well as links to resources on nurturing yourself and your relationships with others!

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Nurture has been defined as “the care and attention given to someone or something that is growing and developing” (Oxford Dictionary).  All of us need to be nurtured and to nurture others.  Nurture is mutual care.  When nurturing takes place, everyone involved is giving and receiving at the same time.  This is the beauty of the interdependence of human relationships.

As parents of children with special needs, we tend to do a lot of nurturing.  Sometimes, it feels like we just give and give and give.  When we care for the significant needs of a child with a disability, our efforts can often seem one-directional.  Over time, this can lead to feelings of resentment and depletion.

However, if we recognize that it is possible for one to be nurtured while in the process of nurturing another, this may transform our caregiving experience.  If we allow it, even the most demanding of nurturing tasks can also bless and fill us, if we remain open to receiving what our child is offering us in return.

Although our children with disabilities are often vulnerable, dependent, and in need of support, there is a special gift to be found in their state of helplessness. This gift has the power to nourish us as we interact with them.  The present is their presence – which is often full of unconditional acceptance, gratitude, and love.  Be mindful of this the next time you care for your child and see if it makes a difference for you.

Of course, it bears mentioning that to nurture others, we must have received and continue to receive nurture ourselves.

Some questions and resources for caregivers to explore this month:

Who nurtures YOU in your life?
If you don’t have an answer to this question and feel the need to build some natural supports, then consider calling Children’s Link or clicking on the following links.  One of our family support workers can provide you with information on our Conversation Cafe groups, our Community Events Calendar, or our Community Resources Page.  You can use the keywords “Support Groups for Parents Raising a Child with Special Needs” to search for a group where you can make some meaningful connections.

Which of your adult relationships could use a bit more nurturing?
At times, parents may choose to focus most of their energy and attention on their children, neglecting other relationships in their lives.  However, it is critical that we nurture supportive adult relationships that can strengthen us as caregivers and as people.  Who do you want to spend more time with this month…?

What would you like to nurture in your own life?
Amidst raising a child with a disability, sometimes we lose sight of ourselves.  Things we used to enjoy doing, hobbies we used to pursue, friendships that used to be active, may fall by the wayside during the busyness of life.  Is there something that you would like to nurture in your own life this month?
CLICK HERE to view an infographic titled, “Discover the Possibilities for Nurturing Yourself” from THINKitTHROUGHparenting.com and then pick one thing you’d like to make a focus in this season.

How can I nurture the potential of my child with a disability?
A primary relationship in your life is the one you have with your child.
Nurture is recognizing what kind of development your child needs to thrive and creating the conditions and opportunities that make this possible.  It is an acknowledgment and a response to the unique needs of an individual.
CLICK HERE to read an article titled, “How to Nurture the Potential of Children with Special Needs” and CLICK HERE to download 50 Positive and Encouraging Messages for Your Child.

Enjoy nurturing one another with compassion and kindness,

Sandra Cicman, M.Ed.
Supporting Links Director
The Children’s Link Society

Community Resources

The Children’s Link database contains more than 1,000 community resources that may be beneficial for families and professionals who care for and work with children and youth with disabilities. To explore resource options, click the link below.