The 3 approaches to children with difficulties or disabilities
Bismillah al Rahman al Rahim
How do you feel about your little one who has a disability? How does he make you feel?
I meet all sorts of parents. This article will cover three differences of attitude in those I meet and work with (Mums or Dads - this article applies to you too, though I refer to Mums mostly!)
Some families break up under the strain of having a child with disabilities. Just at the time when a Mother needs her husband most, he is not able to stand by her side in caring for their child. It is very tough. Sometimes the stress of the expenses push the marriage to its limits. Sometimes Mum herself is unable to cope. This is totally understandable, and parents need all the support we can give them to deal with their situations. Even if things break for a while, the right support can make all the difference in finding a way through.....
However, many families do find a whole new community of people who have seen past the ‘normal’ human beings around them, and are able to enjoy the full variety of people that God has created, and learn and benefit from the humility to be gained from finding it so easy to do things, against the struggles and huge achievements of those with disabilities. And they take pleasure in the tiny steps of their child's progress, seeing what huge leaps they represent.
The parents I have met who have disabled children fall into three main groups.
1. The Mum who cannot come to terms with her child’s difficulties
She will not accept or even admit that her child may not become normal and lead a ‘normal’ life.
She ferociously fights the professionals who tell her to accept her child’s condition and do the best she can to help him reach his potential, but not to push him or herself into unrealistic expectations.
She exhausts her child, herself and those who love them, and is never satisfied with the child’s progress.
2. The Mum who totally resigns herself to her child’s disability
She lowers her expectations so much that she stops striving for the child to make progress, and does not feel it is worth trying to help her child to develop his/her skills to full potential.
This Mum does not follow programmes set for her child, and misses chances for therapy or socialising with other families who can share are and encourage her. She is not frustrated, but those around her are, and sometimes her own child is frustrated, knowing he can achieve more. This Mum is often deeply depressed, and finds it hard to bond with her child.
3. The Mums who get a balance!
Whilst recognising the enormity of the challenge her little one’s disability poses, this Mum is able to harness her own strength and encourage her child’s innate push for life and living.
In doing so, she inspires those around her, and other families benefit from the positivity she creates.
She is realistic: she realises that her child may not be able to reach the levels of physical or intellectual ability that other children manage, but pushes him to get to the very best level he can attain.
Be the third type of mother!
If you are - or want to be - one of the third type of mother – I am right here for you, and am writing these articles with you in mind, to encourage, inspire and motivate you.
If you feel you might be a Mum in the first or the second group and want to look at the situation you are facing with new eyes, I am here for you too! You can be the best for your child: do not give up on your dreams, but do give up your nightmares! And this applies to you, too, Dads! Have a look at my other article on tips I suggest for rising above your child’s difficulties.