Author Lynda Drake offers unvarnished truths about parenting children with disabilities in her practical and compelling manual, The Power of Imperfect Parents.
Expectant parents, especially first-timers, spend countless hours crafting plans on how they will wisely raise their child-to-be. Then the baby is born and best-laid plans fly out the window. This is especially true if the child has special needs. Parents are then not only faced with often overwhelming medical challenges but also a private grief as the previous picture of who their child – and they – will be is abandoned.
Drake knows the territory well. She’s the parent of three children with mental and physical challenges: Alex, with Down’s syndrome, diabetes, and mood disorder; Ali with Attention Deficit Disorder, dyslexia and bulimia; and Katy with life-threatening allergies. Throughout her sagacious book, she lays down authentic advice, rather than the usual clichés, stressing that perfection isn’t the goal: unconditional love is.
Drake and her now late husband dealt with a myriad of obstacles raising their children, from unsympathetic doctors to the police calls when her son became violent to the financial toll that ultimately led to bankruptcy. Weaving such personal stories into her advice, Drake mixes the more philosophical suggestions, such as learning to let go of preconceived notions, with the concrete, like the importance of chores and allowances to instill a sense of accomplishment. There are also chapters on sexuality and balancing the needs of siblings, especially when one child requires more attention.
The end of each chapter offers bulleted directives called “LIFE BITES,” such as: “You will get through this time; just make sure to reach out for help when you need it and remember “This too shall pass.’”
The book targets parents with special needs children but there are universal truths in these pages for all parents. This one is a gem.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.