If you have a child with an impediment, then you are obviously aware of the many challenges that he or she must face on a daily basis. Depending on the specific impediment that your child has, its effect will be different. If you’re not sure how to help your child deal with his or her impediment, then here are some parenting tips to make dealing with your child’s speech or physical impediment easier.
What is an impediment?
According to Dictionary.com, an impediment is anything that causes a person to face challenges or obstacles. People live with impediments every day, and you should teach your child that having an impediment doesn’t make him or her any less special. Remind your child that it is possible to achieve any goal regardless of an impediment.
Examples of impediments
Many people are aware that speech impediments exist, but there are other possible impediments too. Here is a list of just some of them:
- Developmental disabilities – These can include autism, down syndrome, or other developmental delays.
- Speech impediment – Your child could stutter, be mute, or even suffer from a speech sound disorder.
- Mental illness – Just like adults, many children suffer from mental illnesses, as well. Depression, anxiety and even schizophrenia are just some of the mental illnesses that children, teens and adults can suffer from. Mental illnesses can cause impediments for your child.
- Physical impediment – There are a number of possible physical impediments. There could be the inability to walk, limping when walking, paralysis, and much more.
Helping your child deal with ridicule
Just about everyone is aware of how cruel people can be, especially children. If your son or daughter’s impediment is obvious, then it is very likely that other children make fun of your child. Being made fun of can be very hurtful to mature adults with high self-esteem, and it can be especially damaging to a child or adolescent who is still developing emotionally. So how do you help your child to refrain from allowing ridicule to bother him or her? It will certainly be difficult, but here are some tips for helping your child to cope.
Bolster your child’s self-esteem
The higher your son’s or daughter’s self-esteem is, the easier dealing with ridicule will be. Sure, hearing others make fun of him or her will sting at the very least, but by boosting your child’s self-esteem, you can make dealing with ridicule much easier. You can work on boosting his or her self-esteem by reminding your child how great he or she is at the things that he or she does. For instance, if you have a daughter with a speech impediment who is a brilliant ballerina, then praise her every time she performs well. The more she hears your praise, the better she will feel about herself. However, you want to be careful not to praise her too often, because it can actually be counterproductive, which you definitely don’t want.
Another way to boost your child’s self-esteem is to encourage him or her to be as independent as possible. This goal can be achieved by providing your child with the opportunity to make as many decisions as possible.
Make others aware of the teasing
Although your child may object to telling others for fear of “tattle-telling,” you should encourage your son or daughter to speak with a trusted teacher or school counselor about the teasing. The children who are doing the teasing should have to face some type of consequences for their behaviors, since teasing can be considered a form of bullying.
If your child refuses to inform a teacher or counselor, then you may have to intervene. Teasing could have very detrimental effects on your son or daughter without your child even realizing it, so something should be done to put an end to it. Of course you can’t always “rescue” your child because there are cruel people everywhere, not just at school, and you won’t always be around to defend your child.
Educate others about your child’s impediment
Children will often make fun of a child who seems “different” or “weird,” but this could be minimized if the children are aware of exactly what your child’s impediment is, including its cause. Perhaps you could arrange for a professional on the topic to visit the school and teach the children about your son or daughter’s impediment. Of course you should ask your child’s permission first, because you don’t want to do anything that will make him or her feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. You also don’t want to worsen the ridicule.
Helping your child deal with an impediment
Regardless of the severity or complexity of your child’s impediment, your support is important. Your unconditional love and support can help your child to experience an easier time dealing with the impediment on a daily basis.
Attitude makes a significant difference when it comes to managing life with an impediment. If your child has a negative attitude, then it will make life a lot more difficult. On the other hand, if your child has a positive attitude, then you will likely see your child managing well.
Your own attitude is important, as well. If you have a child with a severe stuttering problem, you shouldn’t display a negative attitude or appear as if you’re embarrassed when your child speaks in public. If you behave as if you are ashamed, then your child will pick up on those feelings, making things more difficult for him or her.
If your child is in a wheelchair, then you should never complain about how “annoying” or “tiring” it is to load and unload his or her wheelchair into your vehicle. If you are annoyed and tired, then you should be aware that there is assistance available. One type of assistance is a lift that your child can learn to use his or herself. If you can’t afford a lift in your van, then there are government grants and special programs that provide funds for such devices. Your child will likely enjoy being independent and getting in and out of your vehicle without assistance.
Regardless of your child’s impediment, it can wear on your child, and the entire family as well. Finding a support group for yourself can be helpful, especially if you’re feeling a great amount of stress. You can’t help your child to have a positive attitude if you’re stressed and feeling negative yourself.
If your child has a new impediment, then you may want to encourage him or her to attend a support group. Inform him or her that receiving information and support from others with the same or similar conditions can help him or her in a number of ways. Not only could it make coping a lot easier, but attending a support group for children or teens with similar conditions can help prevent your child from feeling so alone. He or she will realize that he or she is not the only one with that particular impediment.
Support groups could also potentially connect you and your child to different treatment options, as well as doctors who are experts in a specific area.
As you can see, helping your child manage his or her impediment doesn’t have to be difficult. Depending on the type of impediment your child has, he or she could have to deal with ridicule from others, and have a more difficult time functioning in general. However, with your love, assistance and support your child can be as normal and as independent as possible regardless of his or her impediment.