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Dealing with emotions

The Process of Acceptance for Parents of Children With Learning and Attention Issues

By Erica Patino

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When you realize your child has learning and attention issues and you see the challenges he faces, your feelings may progress through what’s called the grief cycle. Find out about the stages of this process.

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The Grief Cycle for Parents of Children With Learning and Attention Issues

You may experience the emotions in the grief cycle many times, not just when you first find out your child has learning and attention issues. Here are the feelings you may cycle through.

Step 1: Denial
How you may respond: Refusing to accept that your child has a learning or attention issue.
What you may say: “There’s nothing wrong with my child,” or “He’ll grow out of it.”

Step 2: Anger
How you may respond: Lashing out at others, or blaming yourself or your spouse.
What you may say: “The school just doesn’t get it,” or “If only I’d done something sooner.”

Step 3: Bargaining
How you may respond: Trying to find short-term fixes.
What you may say: “I’ll negotiate a better grade on his test,” or “I’ll just try harder to help him.”

Step 4: Depression
How you may respond: Feeling sad, guilty or lonely over your child’s issues.
What you may say: “We’re the only family I know going through this,” or “Other people don’t understand how painful this is.”

Step 5: Acceptance
How you may respond: Feeling optimistic, accepting what is and letting go of limiting beliefs about what’s possible.
What you may say: “My child will still be successful in many ways,” or “I’ll appreciate my child, not compare him to other kids.”
Graphic of The grief cycle for parents of children with learning and attention issues
Graphic of The grief cycle for parents of children with learning and attention issues

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About the Author

Portrait of Erica Patino

Erica Patino

Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.

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Reviewed by Molly Algermissen, Ph.D. Jun 03, 2014 Jun 03, 2014

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