Parents of Disabled Children

The majority of people in the world seem to understand what a hard job parents have.  Now imagine that you are the parent of a mentally and/or physically handicapped child.  The job just got a hell of a lot harder.

I grew up in a family with children that have/had psychological and psychiatric handicaps.  I am now a grown adult and have physical handicaps of my own.  My mother had to deal with my disabled brother growing up, which was its own challenge, and now she worries about me, because I have become so (unexpectedly) limited.

People with “normal” children can never understand the struggle that parents with disabled children face.  Not only do they have to meet the special needs of their child, but they also have to explain to their children that they are different.  They have to work, in many ways, harder to bolster the self esteem of children that are aware they are different, and always explain that being different isn’t bad, it is just different.  They have to teach their child to recognize their own limitations while simultaneously avoiding crushing that child’s dreams.  Many times, the parents of children with disabilities work hard to keep the secret of the disability, to protect the child, rather than themselves.

I mean, really, how do you tell your child’s friends that they have been sent to a psychiatric facility indefinitely?  Would you say anything at all, and risk your child’s loss of their friends when they returned? Parents of children with disabilities often lose their adult friends, because people are not understanding enough or even because they are just plain fucking selfish.  These parents give up a lot.  More than many parents of “normal” children could ever fathom.

The sacrifices that are made are not to be taken lightly, and I have to say that now that I am an adult, I am much more cognizant of everything my mother gave up in order to protect her children and give us what we needed.  It takes its toll, even on the strongest people.

To you parents of handicapped children, know that you are appreciated by your adult children.  Know that one day, hopefully, your young child will understand why you do the things you do.  Know that even though other adults can be foolish and even as cruel as school children, this particular adult admires and has great respect for what you do.

I cannot fathom what it is like on your side of the equation, but know I understand your struggles from the other side.

Flail on,
 – Classical Spazz

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~ by ClassicalSpazz on November 5, 2012.

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