The Loneliness of Parenting an Atypical Child: A Parent’s Guide

Atypical child

Parenting an atypical child comes with a unique set of challenges. Whether your child suffers from emotional needs, physical needs, or has specific health-related issues, you know the challenges you face on a daily basis can be complicated and require a different approach compared with many of the approaches in traditional parenting. However, easily one of the greatest challenges to deal with comes in the form of developed loneliness, especially within yourself.

It can be difficult to know how to approach this topic. Even if you’re proactive in coming up with ideas on how to resolve and overcome these feelings, a few negative experiences can produce huge setbacks. In today’s guide, we’re going to detail some ways to help you put your best foot forward.

Remember, Every Life is Different

Easily the biggest promoter of loneliness, and an incredibly difficult challenge to overcome, is moving through feelings of comparison. With the rise of social media, it’s so difficult to escape these feelings when you can’t help but see and judge what other parents and families are doing.

Whether their children are on holiday, winning competitions at school, hanging out with friends, or getting praise and awards, it’s absolutely vital you remember that parents will only ever post the very best of their lives on social media, and that life is very different behind closed doors.

Whether happening online or in front of you, remember that these are single moments in someone’s life, and everyone is on their own journey. Try to be mindful about not comparing and try to be as accepting and as supporting as you would want others to be to you.

Connect with Like-Minded Parents

While it may feel like it at times, you’re not the only parent to an atypical child, and chances are, there are many in your local area or nearby towns and cities. It’s important for your own wellbeing and sense of belonging that you reach out to these parents and connect with them. You will feel much less burdened and alone if you can.

“Whether you find other parents in the school your child attends, or you use social media or the internet to meet others, join online groups, and find play-dates, being able to talk to parents going through similar processes can help you unload and really be yourself with people you know understand what you’re going through” explains Tina Harris, a mom and blogger at and Nextcoursework.

Diversify Your Interests

When you’re parenting an atypical child, it’s very easy to fall into the habit of making your entire life surround the condition you’re facing. You may spend all your time researching, and reading, and watching videos, and talking to people about it, but this is only going to end up making you insane.

Of course, it’s an incredibly positive thing to get educated, but you need to make sure you’re having time for yourself and doing the things you love. Your happiness and fulfilment on life depend on it.

Find hobbies you may have put to the side or find new interests that you can spend your time doing. By making yourself happy and doing the things you love, you’ll bring happiness to your family life and to your child, which will only result in positive outcomes.

Find Meaningful People

While there is no hard and fast rule to curing loneliness, it’s important to make sure the people in your life are people you actually connect with. It doesn’t matter how many friends you have; you can still feel loneliness. It’s all about having quality over quantity.

Keep Going. You’re Doing an Amazing Job! 

When you’re feeling lonely or sad or isolated, you’ve had a bad day, or you’ve got some naggy thoughts in the back of your mind you can’t seem to shift, it’s important to stay head-strong and keep pushing forward.

“Always remember that emotions and feelings are temporary, and how you feel now is not how you felt yesterday, nor will you feel tomorrow. It’s so easy to get our emotions to take control of us, and it’s hard to break out of the mindset that this is how you’re going feel forever” shares Nick Taylor, a health writer at Writemyx and Britstudent.

Just remember to stop, take a deep breath, and try to see the bigger picture. As the parent of an atypical child, some days you’ll be thriving, other days just surviving and coping. It happens to everybody in different ways. Just keep swimming and know that you’re doing your best – and that’s enough.

If you have an atypical or special needs child and are looking for additional resources in the Richmond area, be sure to visit our Resource Guide for Special Needs Children to find services, support groups, and more.