80+ Toughest Challenges of Parenting a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder

Recently, I asked parents what their toughest challenges of parenting a child with Sensory Processing Disorder was.  The response was overwhelming!  If you ever thought you were alone, this list should help you feel like you are not alone in the challenges with your child.

Aggression: Hitting, biting, throwing, destroying, yelling and being out of control.

Constant motion, never sitting still.

My daughter rips shirts that don’t feel good to her.

Separating typical bad behaviors from those driven by sensory issues. Because they need to be approached differently.

No sleep.

Other people not understanding

Dressing is the worse part for me I get anxiety knowing it’s time to get her dressed

Everything, especially the no support from friends, families, or even strangers.

The constant noises she makes.

Behavior, eating, no sleep, potty training and not knowing when it’s sensory or behavior.

Being an avoider parent to a seeker child or two…

The fact that nobody believes me that it exists and my son has it.

Constantly licking everything!

Finding a baby sitter.

Trying to explain it to others… feels like justifying behavior.

Right now it’s thinking you have everything under control and then it suddenly goes to pot.

Judgements and others especially family not understanding

Keeping your cool when you’ve had enough.

Probably the unpredictably. I never know how play dates will go or school or life really.

Being jealous when you see NT kids having a great time with their families.

Knowing that I will never fully understand my child’s thought process, frustrations and I’ll never be able to fix it for him.

You always have to be on your game… planning for the next moment… and being human. All at once.


Family who dismiss it as poor parenting

Judgement from others, haircuts, teeth brushing, trying to make family understand.

Knowing no one can fully understand.

Not knowing when the next meltdown will be.


Finding nutritional foods he will eat and clothes and shoes he tolerates.

Keeping my cool.

Watching my kid missing out on things because of his SPD.

Knowing the difference between a scraped knee and a broken leg. The screaming is the same.

People not showing support.


We haven’t been to church in years. Some friends and family don’t understand, sometimes it’s so exhausting for me and my husband.

Dealing with non-sensory parents.

Fearing the wrath of my child.

Public outings.

Seeing him get punished for his symptoms at school.

People saying he looks normal.

Having to be on 24 hours a day. Always alert always watching there is no down time.

The extra strain of trying to figure out how to handle him puts on my marriage paired with the isolation of having no support system and having no one willing to watch him so we can have time alone together.

The judgement and prejudice of people who have no clue.

Not being able to make it better… you can only avoid so many things

When they shut down anywhere and everywhere…

Family and friends always suggesting what they think will quick fix the issues and literally believing they are correct.

People thinking your child is spoiled and bad mannered.

That my child suffers and that his self-concept is being damaged because people do not understand him.

People thinking you are just a bad parent.

Giving up having control or even a real scheduled day for that matter

That they compare their child that has ADHD to my child and give parenting pointers.

Constantly feeling like you need to defend yourself and your child to everyone.

Constantly monitoring every situation your child is in and eliminating any threats.

Catering to food aversion, oral hypersensitivity and generally trying to be sure no peas are smooshed, no foods are touching another food, and it’s the right bowl, plate, silver wear and there’s no brown dots on that banana.

Every dang thing being a fight.

Him not speaking.

Can’t express herself and tell me what she wants and needs.

Hearing non sensory friends tell me it’s all in his head and there was no such thing around when they were kids.

No one else understands they think it’s about discipline.

Shopping for things for her. Don’t want to buy wrong clothes or a toy that will set her off.

Having siblings and not being able to do much or involving all.

Having to explain to professionals that she has sensory issues.

The stares.

Running away from me.

Explaining to other parents.

Having 2 with sensory needs that are the complete opposite of each other.

My spouse in denial about the whole thing that leaves me with absolutely no help.

80+ Toughest Challenges of Parenting a child with Sensory Processing Disorder

Remembering that you need to take care of you as well. I put all my time into work and my son and I never remember to make sure that I’m mentally okay.

Sibling relationships.

Handing disappointment.

Always being overwhelmed.

People asking why we chose to have more children after him.

The effect on siblings.

The fact that I have it myself and don’t want to be touched and she craves touch.

Not knowing what we are going to face when he comes out of school.

Always being on my toes.

Not knowing how to calm them.

When you can’t figure out how to help them feel better.

To know what input he needs.

Being stuck in constant flight or fight.


Constantly thinking you aren’t doing the whole parenting thing right.

Not knowing what our future will be like.

Having to push through everything because you want to just give up…but you can’t because their life depends on you.

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8 thoughts on “80+ Toughest Challenges of Parenting a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder

  1. [Relatively] Normal

    This is a great article. Being the one who has the sensory issues as a parent, rather than parenting a child with SPD, I have so much respect and compassion for you. Some days I can’t even stand myself.

  2. Cecilia

    About 78 challenges apply to our home! At least now I know it is not just us. Try explaining to the cousins why he is not being treated the same as them when visiting….

  3. Marsha

    As a grandmother, it breaks my heart to see the struggles of grandsons with sensory issues and ADHD and ODD. BUT I am inspired by my daughter’s and my son-in-law’s absolute love for them all and the extra mile they go to be sure that every avenue to help them is explored. My daughter works closely with their teachers to ensure classroom adjustments are made when necessary to enable the boys to keep up with their schoolwork and, in fact, excel in it.

    So far, they are doing well. The addition of a puppy very recently has been very helpful in letting them relax when they get home from school.

    Thank you for this information. Hopefully, all who have family growing with these very special children will gain some knowledge that helps them be supportive.

    The amazing thing is, to me, that my daughter and I have realized that we have been coping with ADHD, or more specifically. ADD all our lives.

  4. Diane Boerstler

    Beautiful article, thank you for sharing! Three of my four have significant symptoms of SPD but all in different areas so I feel your pain. I hope by now you’re husband and family have gotten on board and provided you with the help you need~! That’s my only saving grace…

  5. Dodie

    Thank you! Thank you! It’s so nice knowing you’re not the only one feeling these emotions and fighting the same daily battles.

  6. Dan

    Just came across this. Thank you, like others have stated it’s nice to know we’re not the only ones who have these issues.


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