Helps for Fathers of Children with Disabilities

Remember, learning how to raise a child with a disability is a process, not an event. You may need time to understand the demands and challenges of raising a child with a disability. At first you may have difficulty accepting that your child’s life may be different from what you planned and expected.

Despite the difficulties, raising a child with a disability can bring many blessings to your life. Drawing close to your Heavenly Father in prayer can help you find comfort and peace. The sacrifices you make for your child can bring spiritual blessings into your family. Some fathers who are raising a child with a disability report that the experience strengthened their ability to be a good father.1

  1. Believe in the importance of the family in God’s divine plan. Understanding God’s plan of happiness can help you look beyond mortal disability. A mortal body, even with a disability, is part of your child’s eternal progression. God has a plan for your family’s happiness here as well as in the eternities.
  2. Believe in an eternal relationship with your child. This belief will help you build a loving bond.
  3. Believe in a commitment to fatherhood as a sacred responsibility. Fatherhood is a divine calling. Live worthy of temple covenants and provide leadership in helping family members understand and accept the child’s disability. Doing so can strengthen your role as spiritual leader in the home. Use the priesthood to bless your child.

Other Suggestions

  • Talk with other members of your family to help them understand your child. Your wife and other children in the family can benefit from your support as you work together to help the child with a disability.
  • Do not punish or blame yourself or others for the child’s disability. Anger and bitterness drive the Spirit from us (see 3 Nephi 11:29–30).
  • Exercise your faith as you seek answers to your questions. Trust that Heavenly Father loves you and your child.
  • Remember to take time to strengthen yourself and your marriage.
  • Keep your family balanced.

Notes

  1. See David C. Dollahite, “Fathering for Eternity: Generative Spirituality in Latter-day Saint Fathers of Children with Special Needs,” Review of Religious Research [2003], 44[3], 237–251