One of the most useful approaches I have learned for caregiving is the idea of detaching with love. I believe this can apply to even caring for quite young children. It will protect your heart in the long run and help you to cope as a caregiver.
I learned this from a very dear friend who has since passed on and I am so grateful she shared this idea with me, so I pass this onto you, EDS Mamas, in hopes that it will make a lasting, meaningful impact in you. As caregivers, we have thoughts about what our child or loved one should be doing and not doing, everything from medications, to therapies, to school, to activity, and to social interaction. When our loved one chooses a path which is different than what we feel is best for him or her, we feel frustrated. Sometimes the choice our loved one makes will have consequence for us, impacting our time and involvement, or perhaps we believe it will have a negative impact on his or her forward progress. It is hard to know when to give our verbal input, when to express disappointment, when to offer suggestions, and when our help for them is crossing over into enabling poor decisions.
I have seen that when I separate out my emotions and focus not on how I feel, but on what are the goals of my loved one, then I feel at peace. I can become an instrument in assisting this person to attain his goals, not mine. I must accept that my goals for him may not be his goals for himself. He or she may not even have any goals and then I can become that spark of setting goals.
Once I detach with love, it is my responsibility to allow my loved one to accept the consequences of his or her decision. I cannot be an enabler where I try to lighten those consequences. It is those consequences following decisions that will help that individual change, form new goals, and ultimately cope with reality. Learning to assist without crossing over into enabling helps me to create healthy boundaries and ensure I am making time for my own goals and well being. I can make sure I am putting God first in my life (not another person), focusing on what HE wants me to be doing, and not trying to fix somebody else’s situation.