When faced with children’s illnesses or birth defects, parents can easily lose sight of their children’s uniqueness and concentrate primarily on dealing with their medical “problem.” In our zeal to do the right thing, we can become oblivious to the ordinary developmental and emotional needs of our child.
But, isn’t having pity on people the same as having compassion for them?
No. When we pity people, we don’t really see them. We allow their illness, or their handicap, to blind us to their ordinary needs as human beings. When we have compassion for people, we understand them as individuals who have needs like us, not only those posed by their particular handicap.
PARENTING A CHILD WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
It is rare for parents of a child with special needs to know intuitively not to let their child’s “problem” dictate their parenting agenda. And then there are always those family members who are waiting to criticize us for not being more indulgent toward our “poor child!”
Parenting, the world’s most important profession, requires more than love; yet few of us have undergone any training for it, beyond what we experienced as children ourselves.
Parents of children who are chronically ill, or have special needs, characteristically question whether they are asking too much of their child or if they will damage them by making “unreasonable” demands. Adding to their “parenting dilemma” is the preferential treatment they must give their child with special needs. They ask themselves and worry about how that extra care and attention might be adversely affecting their other well children.
What is the source of this natural urge to indulge children with special needs?
Our own unacknowledged feelings!…