As a mom of a special needs child, I know that parenting is more challenging than perhaps my adolescent – and maybe they are equally hard each bringing forth their own different challenges.
One of my hopes and goals is that I can teach my son responsibility in a way that I know he can then take care of his basic things. He struggles with organization i.e. putting his homework in the folder rather than just the backpack.
Recently during our morning routine, I had asked him to put his hearing aid in, as we were ready to walk out the door and he exclaimed that it is not in the container.
What do you mean?
It was simple, he took it out and couldn’t remember where he took it out at. It could be lost in the yard or somewhere in his room.
I was frustrated, to say the least, not enough coffee for my calm to hit my nerves. I was upset and I let it be heard and perhaps not the best parenting I have done in a while… why?
Because I cannot expect my 11-year-old son with cognitive deficits and organizational challenges are solely responsible for his hearing aid …as much as he should be able to due to his chronological age. It is just not realistic for him and I do think that he can completely handle this responsibility without support.
So, what do you do?
You have a conversation and come up with a new plan – a plan that is asking you to be more vigilant about his hearing aid. He only uses it for school so the appropriate measure is to prompt him to put it away if it’s still in his ear by the time I pick him up to go home.
I can place visual cues in my car as reminders for him. He likes to do things for himself, as well as he should and it is my job to help him get there – preferably without losing my cool of course.
I have little reminders to me letting me know that how I speak to him will ultimately be the way he will talk to himself – and this takes patience with me and more so perhaps with him – of course, this should be used with all children but I note that my kiddo sometimes struggles and wishes he didn’t exist to make his pain go away … because in that moment in time that IS the ONLY way he can express his hurt inside.
This is two days’ past, and I have processed my emotions, talked with him and together we have searched high and low for his hearing aid. Perhaps it is time for a new one because well, we have made it for more than a year and that… well, that is darn good.
So, no matter how frustrating some moments can be, try to find the teaching moment of value and well find a positive in the situation – and then figure out a better way to teach responsibility!