Ideas to nurture yourself

Here are a few ideas to help keep you on track.

  • Parenting an FASD individual can be isolating. Parents of neurotypical children often don’t understand the issues you face every day. Find someone to talk to who understands what it’s like. This could be a whānau member who is close to you, or another parent of a child with FASD. It can be very helpful to join a local support group. Find a list of groups available in Aotearoa here.

  • All parents have dreams for their kids. It may be hard for parents of tamariki with FASD to deal with disappointment or guilt. A counsellor, elder or possibly religious leader may be able to help you.

  • Think about what helps you to relax and make a real effort to do it every day or at least every week. Have coffee with a friend, go for a walk, a run or to the gym, find a creative outlet, take a long bath with the bathroom door locked, go out with your partner, attend a support group, hire a babysitter or share and swap childcare.

  • Sometimes, the only place your children can truly shine is in their own home. Let them be at home a lot and don’t feel bad about celebrating holidays and birthdays at home where they feel safe and comfortable.

  • Many children with FASD become very stressed when the family leaves home to go on holidays. It can be hard for them – and for everyone – to leave a familiar area and routine or stay in a strange hotel room. If you do decide to go away, plan carefully ahead and involve your tamariki in discussions about what to expect.

  • If at all possible, arrange for regular respite breaks for you and/or your partner, even if just for a ‘date night’. Hire a babysitter or respite worker who understands your child, and train him or her about FASD and the importance of routine.

  • Take time to laugh. Watch a funny movie or video. Think about the funny side of some of the things your kids do.

  • Music can change the mood for everyone. If things are going downhill, put some relaxing or fun music on. 

  • Try to look at the big picture. You are doing the very best job you can.

  • Think about all the things that you love about your children and all the things you admire. Write a list and stick it on the fridge!

  • Continue to educate yourself. Knowledge is power – and what we know about FASD is changing all the time!