Character development is not one of the first benefits that comes to mind when parents receive a child’s special needs diagnosis. It’s probably not the second or the third or the fourth, either. But eventually, most parents realize the experience of raising a child with special needs is changing them, and usually for the better.
Jo Ashine’s Character Development
In a post for the Orange County Register, Jo Ashline described how parenting Andrew, her son who lives with autism, contributed to her character development. She called it “5 ways raising a special needs child has made me a better person” rather than character development. But if those 5 ways aren’t character development, I don’t know what is.
5 Signs of Character Development
Ashline identified five ways she’s changed in the decade since Andrew was born. She’s become:
- More flexible
- More helpful
- More patient
- More present and aware
She fleshes out each item on the list in her article on character development entitled 5 Ways Raising a Child with Special Needs Has Made Me a Better Person. If you haven’t already been persuaded to surf on over to the Orange County Register to read the entire article, maybe the last two lines of the post will do the trick. Ashline ends the article by saying, “Because of Andrew, life isn’t just more meaningful — thanks to him, I know the true meaning of life. And I can’t wait to see what he teaches me next.” (BTW, consider the quote the required tissue warning for heart string-tugging posts.)
Character Development and Parenting Your Child with Special Needs
When you look back at who you were before a child with special needs entered your life and who you are now, do you see evidence of character development? Can you add to Jo Ashline’s list? In the comment box, describe how your parenting experience made you a better person.