Parenting Resource

10 02 2012

Beyond What’s Urgent and Noisy

A dear friend of mine divides the world into two camps. One camp consists of people who fold underwear before putting it away. The other consists of those who stuff their skivvies away willy nilly. My friend is a folder. I’m a stuffer. Not because I’m messy, but because folding undies is a waste of time.


My aversion to wasting time could explain the way I divide the world into two camps: people who plan and those who don’t. I fall into the first camp, and so does my underwear folding friend, though she’s not quite as crazy in love with her planner as I am with mine.


Over the years, I’ve learned planning is more than a time saver. It’s a way to ensure the urgent, noisy bits of life don’t elbow out the important, quiet ones. My husband and I first discovered the necessity of planning after our son was born in 1982. He was quickly diagnosed with life-threatening anomaly that required immediate surgery at a hospital 750 miles away. Unfortunately, until our son turned four and his condition stabilized, his urgent medical demands didn’t leave much time for us to plan anything. Consequently, many important things were shoved aside. Most important among them was our concern about the affect all those invasive medical procedures were having on our little boy’s mental health.


But even when we found time to plan and write down questions about our son’s mental health, the doctors dismissed them. Our little boy was fine they said. He wouldn’t remember those early surgeries, they said, and for many years we believed them. Until our son hit adolescence. Over the next fourteen years, his behavior grew increasingly impulsive and self-destructive. Even so, he was twenty-six years old before his mental state was urgent and flashy enough to demand treatment. When he reached that mental state, we had no more time to plan than had been available after he was born.


Thankfully, God’s plan fell into place quickly. Our son was soon diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Days later, he was at Intensive Trauma Therapy (ITT) in Morgantown, West Virginia where he spent a week receiving out patient treatment. Quite literally, the therapy gave him a second chance at life.


The experience changed my life, too. I had already written A Different Dream for My Child: Meditations for Parents of Critically or Chronically Ill Children. Now I felt compelled to create a parenting book for those raising kids with special needs.


Despite my new understanding of PTSD, the temptation could have been to address only urgent, noisy topics in Different Dream Parenting: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Special Needs. Things like receiving a devastating diagnosis, preparing kids for a hospital stay, facing the death of a child, and how to save a marriage gone bad due to the demands of raising a child special needs.


But with careful planning, other important, quiet topics receive their due. Topics like dealing with insurance companies, how to interview care givers, and creating a special needs trust. An entire chapter is devoted to accessing proper mental health care for kids with special needs, a subject that warrants less than a page in most special needs parenting books. Yet, many kids experience trauma because they have special needs: invasive medical procedures, bullying, neglect, abuse, divorce, adoption. Different Dream Parenting makes parents aware of the mental health issues their children may be dealing with and points them to further resources.


If you’re parenting a child with special needs or suspect your typical child may suffering with trauma or PTSD, Different Dream Parenting: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Special Needs Children can help you move beyond your child’s urgent and noisy behavior to find needed resources. Once your child gets proper mental health treatment, you might even find time to use the planner that’s gathering dust on your desk. But don’t get carried away and start folding your underwear. Instead, stuff them in a drawer and spend time with your kids. Is anything more important than that?


Jolene’s books are available at local books stores, Amazon, and the publisher’s website Visit her blog,, for resources, guest blogs, and product reviews of interest to parents of kids with special needs. For a glimpse at life along the gravel road where she lives, check You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, also.

How Do You Keep Up the Good Work?

22 01 2012

For those who have survived trauma and are thriving after treatment at Freedom’s Calling, I invite you to share about what things you might now  do or ways you might now think that are helpful to you in your daily life.  Thanks for your time and thoughts!