Should Parents Tell Children That They Are Different From Other Children
Parents of children with special needs such as autism often ask if it is alright to tell their children that they are different from other kids. Unfortunately, no parent would want their children to label themselves as such. Moreover, children who are labeled as being different are often stigmatized by society as a whole. In fact, children with special needs are labeled with words like defiant, disruptive, difficult, selfish and –the most dehumanizing of all words – abnormal.
The problem becomes if a child is labeled they are type-casted to posses certain behaviors and mannerisms that are generally observed among kids with a particular condition. In most cases, people may assume that a child may not be able to function properly in society or may not be able to learn properly compared with other children. It may be offensive to most parents, but children with special needs are often labeled as disabled. This makes the situation worse. Let us look at one story about a family’s struggle with society and raising a child with Asperger Syndrome.
Sydney is a special girl who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when she was in the 4th grade. This particular condition, is linked to autism and is more common in boys than girls. Her mother wanted her to understand that she is different from other children, but wanted to do it in a way that would not hurt her daughter’s feelings. Fortunately, being raised in a Christian family, Sydney was able to understand her condition. Her mother told her that even if she is different from other children, she is gifted with a lot of talents by God and love from her family.
Surprisingly, Sydney responded and felt reinforced after her parents were able to help her understand what her condition was all about. Although her condition has no known cure, she still strives hard in her own way to grow up as an independent and wise young girl. In fact, while growing up, Sydney experienced a lot of ridicule from her peers and even teachers. Prior to her knowledge about her condition, she was suspended from school countless times and was even expelled from five different schools by the time she entered third grade. Everybody thought that she would grow up to be a misfit or a juvenile delinquent. However, with the love that she received from her parents and family as well as giving her the right labels, she became an honor student in middle school. She is now helping foster children overcome negative labels placed on them.
With Sydney’s story, parents should not be afraid to tell their children about their conditions. If they are given the right labels and also receive the love and support from their families, then they will grow up to be responsible in the future.