Power parenting

motheranddaughterforequalbutToday’s article was inspired by a host of recent conversations I had with various individuals regarding raising a deaf child. However, this could be of help to any parent who has a child with a disability.

Every mother who carries a baby always looks forward to counting those ten fingers and ten toes and marvelling at her baby while watching him or her go through the various stages of life.

No one, unless they have prior knowledge, expects their child to have any kind of challenge or disability when they are born,. However there are those who are faced with this challenge and then have to learn how to cope.

Ironically, problems usually start with the first person you go to for help, which is a medical professional. The problem usually occurs because of incomplete or inconclusive information given. When you give professional advice to a novice, it is of the utmost importance to relay all relevant information so that the parent would be armed with all their options as it pertains to care, schooling, social activities and life in general.

What parents usually get are either half truths or opinions and when they go off on their search to find a better life for their child based on the expert knowledge they thought they received, they are sorely disappointed.

When the parent then sets out on their quest for their child to see if they would have a chance at normalcy, they then begin to see the flaws and discrepancies in the advice which they were previously given.

It is not fair to withhold truths from parents when they are literally looking for a glimmer of hope especially when it comes to support systems which are available or in most cases lacking.

That, to me, is the most distressing thing. Being pointed in a particular direction when there is no available support system in the entire country is pointless.

In order for any kind of specialised treatment to be fully utilised there must be a continuous support, whether technical or otherwise, which would enhance the lives of both parent and child. The only other option is an expensive one.

This is where you have to take periodic trips overseas to receive the necessary support and care that is not available here. As you can imagine, unless you really have the means, i.e. the money, that is something that is not even in the bag to be counted as one of the options.

This is why I believe parents although new to a disability, must search and research every avenue possible to find answers and help. I would say that the easiest of these avenues is the Internet, which is loaded with a host of information on any topic.

Of course you still have to consult doctors and others in the medical field that are versed in the particular area. However, that should never be the end to your acquisition of knowledge. Arming yourself with as much information as possible is going to be the best way forward for your family and the more you know the more you’ll be able to deal with the issue.

Below are some tips which were given on www.womenshealth.gov about this same topic. They include:

* Learn as much as you can about your child’s disability.

* Find programmes to help your child.

* Talk to your family about how you’re feeling.

* Talk to other parents of children with disabilities.

* Join a support group.

* Stick to a daily routine.

* Take it one day at a time.

* Take good care of yourself.

I know that there will always be that initial shock when you realise your child is different, but at some point you have to realise that your child’s destiny and quality of life will rest on the shoulders of you as a parent; just like any other parent.

While tears may flow and emotions are thrown into disarray, remember that you have to fight for them and in many cases harder than most parents.

Also, don’t be afraid to question a doctor, teacher or any other professional who believes they know what is best for your child. Many of these so-called professionals think that because they see many cases like yours, they can just “change the name on the document and send you on your way”!

Ask questions! Lots of them! As a matter of fact, get a second and third opinion if you still feel uneasy after leaving their office.

What we have to understand is that we as parents are still the ones with the power. We are the ones who should be making the ultimate decision in the best interest of our children. If doors are being closed in one area, find another one that is open.

Our children are depending on us to do right by them and it matters not at the end of the day if they have a disability or not. Once we are a parent our sole responsibility is to protect and give our children the best lives possible. Let’s change our mindsets, rid ourselves of that “defeatist” mentality and clothe ourselves with all that is needed to become a power parent!

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