Parenting Challenges? It’s Snakes & Ladders
We all have our parenting challenges because parenting is hard. Parenting neurodiverse kids or children with mental health issues is harder.
Once they are diagnosed one would think there’s hope on the horizon.
Then you have to find help.
And hopefully start treatment.
None of that is easy.
And, treatment and/or recovery is rarely a straight line.
Did you watch The Good Place? I would “joke” that instead of hills and valleys, the process of treatment and recovery is actually a Jeremy Bearimy and it actually did break my brain at times. However, I am lucky enough to know someone who is further along in this kind of parenting journey who has an analogy that is much easier to comprehend. A children’s board game that everyone knows. Even if you didn’t play much because one of your neurodiverse kids couldn’t stand to lose 🙂
Snakes & Ladders.
If you are in the midst of big parenting challenges, imagine your journey as a game of Snakes & Ladders.
From the very start, there’s no way to control the game. Rolling the dice off the top can bring you to several ladders, and there are no snakes that can set you back further than your starting point. But as you go along, sometimes you make it to the top of a really long ladder. But before you get too cocky, the next turn sends you down a snake well below where you just were.
There are always setbacks. And just like in Snakes & Ladders, your next turn could send you up a ladder even higher than before. Or maybe the next ladder is a short one, but the path ahead has fewer snakes so you can take a little breather. And maybe the next snake you slide down is just a little one; that leads you to the next ladder which almost brings you back to the top.
I am a big proponent of mantras and positive affirmations to get through tough times. Sometimes it’s all you have. And you have to feel the bad in order to recognize the good. Some of us seem to play more — shall we say — roller coaster-y versions of Snakes & Ladders. But the game remains the same.
When someone asks how things are going, and things aren’t going all that well, now I say, “We just slid down a little snake, however the next ladder is in sight.” And I am pleased to say that these days there are many ladders and they are actually kinda tiring. High ladders can be wobbly and intense and climbing them can be exhausting. However the path seems to be fairly clear of snakes for the time being. I won’t get smug though, since I know the snakes get pretty big and scary looking as we climb higher to the next levels.
But we still keep rolling the dice. And we always keep moving forward.