Parenting a teen through the teen years can be challenging. Our responsibility as their parent is to encourage them as much as possible. Every child needs to hear they are special as much as possible. However, your special needs teen needs to hear you say positive things more often than anyone else.
As a mom of special needs teens, it’s HARD to always be upbeat enough to want to say something positive. I’m tired. Sometimes quite frankly, it’s hard to find positive things to say.
But our teens are depending on us to help them build their confidence and self worth. It’s amazing the power a few short words can hold. While all teens need to hear these words, teens facing additional challenges need to hear them even more.
What to Say to Your Special Needs Teen
#1. You inspire me.
If your child inspires you, then you need to let them know. Your special needs teen is inspiring and it’s time that they know that! Maybe it’s the way they face the challenges they have or what they have overcome. Maybe it’s their determination or their fighting spirit. Whatever it is that inspires you about them, tell them.
#2. It’s okay to have bad days.
Some teenagers don’t realize that their parents have bad days. Talk to your teenager and let them know that everyone has bad days, even you. Hearing this from you will help them in more ways than you can even imagine.
#3. You are brave.
Getting up every day is hard. Getting up every day when you are facing additional challenges is even harder. Let your special needs teenager know that they are brave. They are so brave and they inspire you!
#4. The world is a better place because you’re in it.
What does your child bring to the world? Your special needs teenager needs to know that they make the world a better place.
#5. You are valued.
When someone tells you that you are valued, it makes you shine inside. Your special needs teen needs to know that they are valued! They need to know that what they bring to the table is so important.
#6. I love you, but I also really like you.
Who doesn’t want to be not only loved, but also liked? Liking our children is important and believe it or not, they need to know they are liked.
Liking our children isn’t always easy because kids can be a challenge. Your kiddo may have challenging behaviours or teenage mood swings. However, our kids need to know that their parents love and like them unconditionally.
#7. You are wanted.
In a world that tells a lot of children that they aren’t wanted, I want my kids to know that they are wanted. If you’re the parent of a special needs teen, then they need to know they are wanted. This simple statement can go so far.
A few weeks ago, I took my middle daughter out on a mommy-daughter date and I was telling her about the day we got the phone call she had been born and how deeply she was wanted. As I recounted details like how one of her grandmas came to our house 4 times before she arrived “is she here yet?” and other moments from that special day, she was just beaming.
#8. Our family is better for having you in it.
A family is only a family because of who is in it. Your special needs teen needs to hear that your family is BETTER for having them in it. It wouldn’t be the same without them.
#9. I love the way you look at the world.
Your special needs teenager has a unique way of looking at the world. Let them know that you see it and appreciate it!
#10. I believe in you.
Everyone wants someone to believe in them. Tell your special needs teen that you do believe in them. You believe in who they are and what they can achieve.
#11. I really like how you helped your brother or sister.
Even a teen who is non-verbal or who has limited mobility can help siblings with their smile. It can be easy to look past how helpful a child with special needs can be.
#12. You did a great job with that!
Parents are their child’s biggest cheerleader. When you see your special needs teen doing a good job, tell them how wonderful they are doing.
#13. Can I give you a hug?
Your special needs teen may need a hug, but not know how to tell you. They may feel that they are too old to ask for physical affection, but still want it. Always tell them you are up for a hug anytime!
For kids who are sensory sensitive, you can change this to a high five.
#14. I’m so proud of the young lady or young man you are growing into.
Every teenager is going to grow up, whether we choose to believe it or not. If a teen is going to grow up and be successful, then they need to have all the support they can get. Be sure they know how proud you are of who they are becoming.
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