Blog  /  Parenting, Special Needs  /  Do we ever get frustrated? | Raising a Child with Special Needs

stressed mom

A young couple has come into our life whose son is special needs. They are trying to cope with the initial news of his disabilities, the on-going therapies, and so much more. They mentioned to us that they have times of great frustration. They wondered if that ever happens to us.

Time for transparency!

Yes, even after 30 years, there are great times of exhaustion and frustration in parenting or caring for one with special needs. My mom, who was my dad’s primary caregiver as he battled with Alzheimer’s, had moments of frustration, too. Sadly, here is what happened to me the other day:

I had been listening all day….and was so tired of hearing Joey’s loud screaming and vocal noises as he played some of his PlayStation sports games. I thought I could just scream - wait a minute – I did! As I was cleaning up the dinner dishes, I totally imitated him and caught him by surprise, frightening him just like he had done all day long to me. Yes, I lowered myself to that behavior. Even Joe was taken by surprise. I’d never done that before, so both the guys were surprised. The good thing is Joey stopped making those noises. I’m not sure if it was because of what I did, but I did it out of total frustration.

It was almost time for Joey to go to bed, which was probably a good thing. Joe made sure he was the one to help him get ready for bed THAT night!

Those times are not nearly as often and not nearly as challenging as what we went through in the early years, and perhaps nothing like you’re dealing with in your life right now. In those early stages there is so much to learn, experience, figure out, deal with, and it’s all dumped on the “plate” of life in a huge portion! The frustration we all experience is often the consequence of all that accumulates emotionally throughout the day and week…..

So, it IS normal to get frustrated. It is normal to come to the end of your rope. The key issue is that we should never be abusive. When we get to a point of frustration, it’s good for our spouse or another person in our life, to “take over” like Joe did when he got Joey ready for bed. We have learned the “dance” that works for us. We pray those who are reading this will find the “dance” that works for them so that their loved one remains well cared for!

Joe and Cindi Ferrini

Joe and Cindi have been married since 1979, live in Cleveland, OH, have 3 grown children (one with special needs), grandchildren, and enjoy speaking and writing together on topics related to marriage and family (FAMILYLIFE’S “WEEKEND TO REMEMBER Get-A-Ways” as well as for organizations pertaining to special needs), leadership, and time/life management. Joe has practiced dentistry since 1978; Cindi enjoys writing (books, blogs, articles, etc.), speaking, radio, and social media. Together they have written articles and blogs for Focus on the Family, FamilyLife, and here at FamilyMatters, and authored UNEXPECTED JOURNEY: When Special Needs Change our Course. They’d love to connect with you at: or

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