I marvel at the words and actions of the munchkin. Some of it’s innate; some of it’s home-training. But I’m realizing that a lot of her character has been developed by having a parent with a disability.
Contrary to what most people think, children don’t miss out on much because of a parent’s disability. With a good support system, kids can do all of the things that most children of able-bodied parents. But besides the physical aspect, there are invaluable characteristics that children of parents with disabilities can develop that other children may not. Here’s my rundown:
7. Helpful beyond compare. It’s different when your child is helpful because “mommy said so” vs. volunteering to do something to assist. My little one will step over her toys on the floor, but will go out of her way to pick up something that I drop.
6. Not afraid to be bold and courageous. It can be frightening sometimes as a mother to see your child exhibit such fearlessness. But when she sees her parent stand up for her rights or advocate on the behalf of someone less vocal, she too will understand the importance of fighting with courage.
5. Embraces differences and inclusion. Children recognize differences, but they also recognize similarities. Proper conversation with your little one will teach them that everyone is special and that everyone deserves respect. My daughter has become one of my biggest advocates – even to the hubby: “Daddy, Mama can do it. She can do anything.”
4. Learns about tenacity. I am The Little Engine That Could. It may take more time or look awkward, but showing my determination in completing a task is a great real-life lesson for children to never give up.
3. Achieves great independence. At the ripe, old age of 3, my daughter knows how to sweep the floor, wash and fold clothes, set the table and more. Don’t call child protective services! When I intervene, she regurgitates my mantra, “I got it.”
2. Experienced problem-solver. Whether it’s as complicated as assembling furniture or as simple as washing the dog, watching a parent “figure it out” on a daily basis teaches a child to think creatively and strategically. It takes skill to fit a square peg in a round hole.
1. Understands unconditional love. In my household, my child sees first-hand the unconditional love between her parents. And knowing that I will do any and everything I can for my munchkin, she feels the unconditional love from me. Heck, she even says she loves me more than ice cream. Top that!