Some children are born with behavioural or learning difficulties, such as being on the autistic spectrum or having ADHD. The main obvious difference between these children and ‘normal’ children are generally the way they socialise with other people. They sometimes don’t understand body language or take words too literally. Certain children will show different characteristics, so it is difficult to define when someone has different behavioural difficulties.
My younger sister who is 11, has APD (Auditory Processing Disorder) and SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder). All this means is that she processes things more different than most children her age. For example, if she isn’t focused on the person who is talking then she most likely wouldn’t have heard any of what they said. She also finds it kind hard to follow a list of instructions and it’s much better to just do one task at a time, otherwise, nothing would get done. Academically she used to struggle quite a bit but as she has grown up she has got better. As you can imagine she suffers quite a bit with anxiety and get stressed out easily by things she is not used to or are not part of her normal routine.
I thought I would explain my situation at home so that those who continue to read this piece will understand I’m not just ranting for the sake of it, that I actually go through it on a daily basis.
Most parents that have a child who has a or more behavioural difficulty struggle on a daily basis. Getting your kid out of the door for school in the morning is like climbing a mountain some days. Your effort should be acknowledged more.
However, there is one flaw in your way of dealing with your children and their breakdown.
Stop calling your child special.
Calling your child special causes a couple of problems. First of all, your child has a behavioural difficulty but they aren’t stupid. The minute your child misbehaviours you use their problem as an excuse, they click onto this and will continue to get away with things other children would be disciplined for. For example, you tell your child to help clean the table of dishes after dinner with everyone else. They decide to plod around aimlessly or straight out won’t bother. Your child is behaving fine all through dinner until you decide they need to do something and then they have a ‘moment’, how convenient.
Another reason you shouldn’t call your child special is that they already possibly feel like they don’t fit in, without you stating they are different day after day. It has also been shown that children who have parents who call them special are more likely to grow up and become narcissistic. This means they would be very much self-involved and would basically think they are the best of the best.
The final reason for not calling your child special is if you have other children that don’t have behavioural difficulties they may feel left out. Children tend to get jealous when they have a sibling that gets all the attention, let alone if this sibling is somehow ‘special’. Just because they don’t have a label doesn’t make them any less adequate. Which is why you shouldn’t label these children with the difficulties as special as this makes the ‘normal’ children feel average.
I understand it’s difficult being a carer and there is no wrong or right way of bringing children up, but it is something to think about.