Friday, November 10, 2006

Parenting Challenges

I tried googling deaf-blind parenting. I got a lot of hits on how to help parents with deaf-blind children. Other hits were about what schools there are for deaf-blind children or what accommodations there are for schooling. There is nothing really out there about a deaf-blind parent wanting find some help with hearing-sighted children. I turn to one of the Usher Syndrome online mailing lists for advice and ideas.

If you are a parent or if you know kids well, then you know they rebel and try to get away with murder. They all do. They push buttons, they whine… short, they can be a handful. Of course, the joys of parenting outweigh the "bad" parts.

I have a friend who has some CP (cerebral palsy) and is hearing-impaired. She’s awesome. I actually forget about her condition. I see her as a person, not someone with disabilities. (I wish I could say the same of some people regarding my disabilities. I am still a normal person, I can function like a normal person. I get by. So I don't hear or see 100%. I would like it if people don't focus on that as who I am. That's a small part of me. I feel like they think I am an accident waiting to happen.) I admit that her disabilties are in the back of my mind, but she's so CAPABLE. I have no doubt that she can do whatever she can if she puts her mind to it. She has had quite a few struggles in her life. She has a son and she does what she can. She is pretty normal to me. She’s an inspiration. If she can do it, so can I.

Parenting is hard enough, but when you add any kind of disability or two, then it is that much more challenging to raise children.

My youngest can try to take advantage of the fact that I don’t hear or see that well and do things that she knows she shouldn’t be doing. When she gets caught, she’s sorry. The consequences are more serious for trying to take advantage of my condition than the act itself. (More privileges taken away.) It's the same as lying about something. A parent is more upset about a child lying about something he or she did/did not do or an "omission" of some sort that the actual deed.

Once again, my oldest wants to be a part of something at school that requires time staying after school. It’s already getting darker by the minute. She is interested in joining the Junior Dance Team. (This is really a high school team, but they encourage children in 6th-8th grades to join if they want.) They dance during half-time at basketball games. I am not against it. In fact, I want to encourage her. I really think it’s important to join a team. I have read that children who join extracurricular activities are well-adjusted and do better academically; however, I don’t know how credible this is when you consider the fact that there are “dumb jocks.”

My problem is finding rides for her. How can I be sure they are dependable? I would like to be able to do this myself. It makes me feel less like a parent. I don’t want her to look back on her school years with empty regret for not being able to join extracurricular activities because of me.

There’s supposed to be a meeting for parents next week during the evening hours. Hopefully I can contact the coach and see if she can just send me the information. I guess I will have to arrange for her rides once she joins. Maybe another classmate's parent can do this. Time will tell.


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