Mothers love their children, and fathers want to protect them from anything that might harm them. It’s often tricky raising a child a disability, and it makes you wonder how long and to what degree do you help them? When do you start moving them toward the big bad world?
As a kid, I had been somewhat over protected but that’s because I’m a girl not because I had a disability. Although, I know my parents had their fears, but they seldom shared that with me.
Instead, they encouraged anything I wanted to try. Telling me along the way if I wanted it bad enough that I can make it happen, and I took that with me into adulthood and I learned to deal with just about every situation.
It wasn’t easy and was very scary, and there were setbacks, and also awesome things happened that I didn’t expect. I took on being the caregiver as my father’s illness ravaged his mind along with my mom & brother. My brother and I took care of my mother after my dad’s passing, and again, I became a caregiver. I had been prepared to be helpful and not dependent. They prepared me to live my own life, whatever that may be.
After my parents past my older brother thought it was his duty to “take care of me” and he wanted to which is a wonderful gift to have a sibling who loves you that much. I however, fell in love and moved away much to my brother’s dismay.
Because I hadn’t been treated differently, I grew up strong with self-esteem and the courage to follow my dreams. My parents instilled that in me even though they were concerned with my chronic pain/worsening disability as they were getting older.
I grew up with a girl whose parents are so protective that even now at the age of 44, she has low self-esteem, still living at home, only allowed to see her boyfriend once a month & isn’t allowed to marry him if she chooses not to mention she isn’t allowed to be alone with him ever. No, she’s not mentally challenged, but she’s legally blind & physically challenged. She can’t drive and is pretty much at her mom’s mercy since her dad passed.
She is still treated as a child and when I think about her. I wonder what her future holds when her mom passes. She has no life skills, they weren’t taught to her. Her parents were highly educated people, her dad, a principal and her mom a nurse but their fears for her well being have effectively taken away life choices for my friend, making her feel depressed, lonely & with no self-esteem plus suicidal. Especially watching her younger sister date, get married & have kids, everything she ever wanted.
When she talked about getting married to her HS sweetheart, they reunited 20-plus years later at work her mother said she had to wait until she was dead. How unfortunate she isn’t given the same consideration as her younger sister, having your mother be by your side on your wedding day.
Her mother is a good woman, and her dad was pretty great too but from my perspective, they have missed the mark this time.
Did your parents instill confidence or did they over protect? Who wants to share their experiences?
Photo by Children's Bureau Centennial