Can you read one book a month about parenting? Why? Read below.
My son was diagnosed with autism and severe developmental delay. When the diagnosis came, everything changed, its natural. We are all fighting for understanding and acceptance. For a better and happier world for our exceptionally amazing kids. It makes us better. It will make your child happier too.
Our role models, our upbringing.
Each journey is different. Each of us, parents are different. We come from different walks of life, with different parenting experience, some of us have been raised in happy homes, some are less fortunate. But after diagnosis, everything else becomes not so important anymore. It is not defying us anymore. Our children and our will of the fight is.
Being a parent of additional support needs child is always difficult. We have to face a lot of stereotypes and assumptions about us, our children and the condition itself.
My lack of knowledge.
My upbringing lacked a lot of things, it was just different. I do not blame anyone, especially my parents as I was born at the start of ’80s in the deep communism. My both parents were deaf, which back there meant that there was no help, no real expectation to succeeding in life. There was no science available to an average working-class family. Not mentioning people with disability. It was expected that you will work all your life in a factory of some sort, not asking many questions and get by.
Despite this, my parents did their best to raise me and my older brother. Looking on our lives, they probably done well, or somewhere in our lives, we managed to find encouragement in other role models. When I left my family home at the age of 16, I met many people who helped me. Who showed me that family or relationships might look different than in my own house. I was raised differently. Those people along the way made me aware of different styles of living, love and care. This experience broadened my mind. Somehow, I was also lucky enough to find those people along my path. Luckly, not the ones who might push me into crime or encourage more risk-taking behaviours than I did – and I did many.
When I became a parent for the first time, or even for the second time, I was not really ready for that. I barely could consider myself an adult.
Access to knowledge.
It’s XXI century, we have world wide web, but importantly we have access to the knowledge, science and people knowing their fields well. But today, we have been drowning in the sea of the fake news too, but nonetheless real science is available for everyone. We can access education and research. As parents, we can read parenting books, specialised blogs, scientific articles and so on. And yet, many of us day by day scrolling meaningless through Facebook, wasting hours instead of look for parenting inspirations.
When my son was diagnosed with autism I went back to college. Now I understand more, know more and I think about my parenting. I know that both of my children are very different in terms of age, sex, abilities and development. Understand their different needs and I try to approach them differently, fairly, giving them a father of my best abilities. I also know that many times I fail, but it’s is part of the process, right?
Using the knowledge and sharing it with others.
When I started to work as a Father and Child Wellbeing Worker I was amazed that our organisation – Children 1st is leading in the training of their staff. Reaching out to amazing professionals, always looking for best practice models and moving away from outdated work ethics.
I feel extremely lucky to be part of such an amazing organisation. Many times I was able to take a part in training or attend inspired speech, by many well-known scientists and professionals. One of them was and still is Dr Suzanne Zeedyk
Dr Suzanne Zeedyk is a research scientist fascinated by babies’ innate capacity to connect. Since 1993, she has been based at the University of Dundee (Scotland), within the School of Psychology. Her academic career began in the USA, where she completed her PhD at Yale University.
For me, this was a breakthrough – I knew that parents and babies are connected, but hearing how important it is it just blew my mind. I considered myself selfconscious father – but adding Suzanne’s theories it literally stunned me, it was it. It spoke to me on many levels.
Check some of amazing discussions and work that Suzanne done
My son’s additional needs taught me how to be patient, how to look for clues, to wait and let me kids reach out in their own ways before me doing stuff for them. I realised that I need to give both of my children space, time do explore communication, to be themselves. This makes them more independent, I learned to accept that my children are different. From myself, from each other, but knowing that it makes us more connected.
I hear you. I know better.
Children aren’t our property, children need to be our partners in conversation, we need to respect their individualism and choices. Our role is to guide them, protect them from harm and give them a chance to explore, to stimulate them. So many parents still treating children as they own them.
I wasn’t like that always.
Check some other posts.
I had to learn, make an effort to become a better parent. I had to unlearn bad habits and make space for new, good once. Raised in the culture of the punishment. I was smacked, I was slapped, I was whipped by a leather belt, cable lead. I smacked my own child a few times, but I knew I’m in the wrong there. Felt horrible and powerless. Why? Because I didn’t know any other way. But with science, a small effort and few books I understood. My children cannot remember when they have been smacked last time. I do. Many years ago.
I understood that it makes more harm than anything. I know what’s happening in the brain of a child when we yell at them. In short: Children’s brain due to stress is losing connections, it makes us react to stress differently.
In short and simple – When a child’s brain is exposed to stress, it goes to “flight, fight or freeze” response. Continuous exposure to it changes the brain and the child is unable to feel safe without being in a stressful environment – they so get used to yelling and stress that they are unable to cope when they are safe and loved.
Can you imagine that?
How would you like to be unable to stand a peaceful and loving environment? Being always edgy when things go smooth and well, feeling always anxious when your life is relatively ok, can you apprehend this? Can you imagine your own child or a friend of your child is like that?
No? Guess what? We live in a world where many children are subject to this, let’s work a bit and use all this knowledge to become better parents. Can we?