Forum Replies Created
Hi David! 🙂 You’ll be a great parent because you’re already looking out for your child by asking questions. My husband and I are both legally blind, and we have 7 kids!!! They’re all over the age of 8 now, and we’ve survived very well so far.
1. Will I be a good daddy? No reason you can’t be a great daddy! Do your research on the stages of child development (that really helps). Think about the families you know or have known–which families inspire you the most? Why? Think of things that you like about their family and consider how you can bring those things into your own family. Talk to your partner! Parenting is definitely a partnership, and you both will need to be clear about expectations. Also, think of things you don’t like in families–that’s almost as important. Personally, I had a pretty dysfunctional upbringing, so my own upbringing showed me plenty of things I didn’t want to repeat. But always remember, nothing is carved in stone. Your parenting style will evolve as your child grows. Your child will be one of YOUR teachers, believe it or not!
2. How will I explain my challenge to my baby girl? Ah, this is easy, my friend. Your challenges will be normal to her because that’s what she will know. It will be part of her everyday life. As she grows older and asks questions, you’ll answer them honestly. You’ll answer them unapologetically. You’ll answer them with confidence. Her understanding of Cerebral Palsy will grow as she does.
3. How will I deal with the looks we’ll get. You’ll just look back or you’ll ignore them. That’s all you can do. If they ask questions in a respectful way, then you can answer them if you feel comfortable. But remember, you are not responsible for educating anyone about your condition IF you don’t want to. Sometimes, as folks with disabilities, it feels like we’re forced into this position of educating everyone about what’s “wrong” with us. Forget that. You can educate anyone you want to, but you don’t HAVE to educate anyone if you don’t want to. We’re not little robots put on this earth to be someone’s educational opportunity. Back to the looks–I’m sure you probably get a certain number of looks now; I know I do–you honestly have to respond in whatever way is comfortable for you. Ignore them. Smile back. Whatever works for YOU. But don’t let other people make you feel uncomfortable. You will be a perfectly NORMAL parent. You are not an abnormal parent simply because you have Cerebral Palsy. Parenting is something you can do quite naturally, don’t let the people who are considered “normal” make you think otherwise.
You’re going to be a great dad!
Hi there. 🙂 My kids are all out of the toddler stage now, but I well remember how scary it was when they would run off. (My husband and I are both legally blind.) One of the biggest things I can recommend is consistency. Whatever method you use for getting your child into the house, you must be consistent about it and not afraid of a tantrum. Tantrums are a part of life with lots of children. It’s their way of expressing themselves when they are overwhelmed with raging emotions. If you decide to use the harness, use it consistently even if he has a tantrum. Tantrums can be frustrating and embarrassing, but no big deal in the larger scheme of things. A lost kid or a kid struck by a car is a big deal, and you have to remind yourself of that each time you deal with a tantrum. Let him have his tantrum with the harness on, and when he’s finished, head into the house. Once he realizes you are serious about it, he will get tired of having a tantrum every time. Also, think about having a ritual of something you do each time you return to the house, something he likes and will want to go into the house for.
Another thing, we used lots of timeouts in my house. My kids knew that if they didn’t behave when we were out of the house, they would go straight into timeout when they got home. There were no exceptions to this rule. And my kids HATED timeouts. Again, consistency is key. If you don’t follow through even once, it’s like you have to teach the rule to the kids all over again.
In my house, we talk about being good citizens and part of being a good citizen is following basic safety rules. I’ve always told the kids if they can’t follow rules when we leave the house, then I won’t take them with me to special places because they are a safety hazard (which is very true). Even toddlers can be taught about safety. You can use a stuffed animal to play act the right way to do things and to even show consequences of not following instructions. A stuffed animal would also be a great tool for getting your toddler in the house. You could buy a dog harness for a stuffed animal, and your toddler could be in charge of getting his stuffed animal into the house while you’re in change of getting him into the house.
I wish you the best of luck. But I can’t repeat it often enough: do not be afraid of those tantrums. Let the tantrum play out and then get your kid in the house safely. He does not know what is best for him–you do. You’re doing great, Dad, just by asking for help, you’re showing how committed you are to your child.