Managing behavior with a special needs child is NOT easy. It takes a bit of finesse to manage how tough and consistent we want to be, considering our own sympathetic (or empathetic) views we have toward our children….considering how much we know they have to deal with medically.
SO, when my non- special needs child starts to yell at me with belittling disrespect….I send him to his room immediately without hesitation. When my youngest son, who has Russell-Silver Syndrome screams at me, tells me he hates me and hits me with his shirt? Well, I want to cradle him in my arms, tell him it’s “okay” and ignore it all.
Reality is, I want to shelter my special-needs child. I have wanted to do this since conception. I love to hold him, keep him warm, and help make him feel safe. Ian has had more IV’s, glucose pricks to his fingers, hospital stays, blood draws, and surgeries than I ever imagined he would encounter….. He has endured more medical treatments than most, and not as much as others. And, naturally, I want to protect him forever.
So, I tend to give in. Most days I am strict and follow-thru. Many days I do not. I remind him constantly that moron, idiot, and ass are not nice words…..and then I turn my back and laugh – praying he doesn’t see me. When my older children say these words…I send them to their rooms with a stern look on my face, tell them it’s totally unacceptable, and make them look up a new word that more accurately describes what they wanted to say.
It’s not easy deflecting temperments in my house. With two children only 17 mos apart, and one child that demands more attention (due to medical reasons) – there is certain to be hostility, jealousy and frustration on a consistent basis. It doesn’t seem to matter how much love I give to each child individually, they always feel left out and want more. Especially, the child who has less of my time…..
So, what’s the right thing to do? Treat them the same. And the time to do that is now. We must be firm with our direction – yet loving. We must set expectations that all of the children must live up to – equally. The ground rules should be the same, and the deliverence of punishment should be the same. It’s NOT easy.
I’ve started a new approach to my youngest special-needs child need for swearing….. he has to write in a journal every night before he goes to bed. I told him he could write WHATEVER he wants in his journal….swear words, how much he hates me (by the way – he tells me I’m the BEST mommy in the whole wide world <grin>), and anything else that comes to mind. He has the right to be angry. He has the right to be frustrated with his life….but, I will no longer tolerate him showing physical anger at his brothers, me, or his dad – considering he is loved from all of us so unconditionally – nor will I tolerate the use of bad language…..Words do mean something.
He didn’t like the idea so much. He said it seemed like school. In first grade, they had to write in their journal every day. But, I reminded him that he could take that little angry, happy, sad, or excited boy – inside (I pointed to his heart) and write about his day – every day – about whatever he wanted. It was HIS journal to express himself. He liked the idea of writing swear words in it. LOL
Fortunately, my other child is an incredibly compassionate child – who, although not much older than his brother, has the capacity to love and care for people around him at an incredibly higher level than most (he’s just like me…<grin>) that he manages to accept his brother for who he is.
So, I will continue on this journey of parenting all my children as best as I can – with the hopes that I have taught them well and they will grow up knowing that I love them more than anything on this earth. And pray that they don’t see me laughing behind their backs when they do something outrageously inappropriate….LOL