Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Child-Like Or Childish? And Where Do You Draw The Line?

I've read some blogs and Facebook posts from parents who are angry that someone said their son or daughter with special needs was like a child. Some of the phrases I've read - and heard, "They will always be like a child" "Perpetual children" and "So child-like."

But I wonder if some parents think it means their child is childish. 

When I hear phrases like that said about Beth, I try to remember the heart of the person saying it and 99% of the time, they're not being mean or facetious. They just notice a child-like innocence about Beth that honestly, most adults no longer have.

Beth isn't cynical
She doesn't look for the bad in every situation
She looks at the heart of a person
Doesn't care what clothes you wear
Won't judge you by your shoes
She forgives easily (when she understands the situation)

But you know what, Beth also has a lot of childish qualities. 

She still eats garlic bread by taking a huge bite right out of the middle. When I suggested she cut the second piece, she did but she wasn't thrilled about her mom telling her how to eat.

She eats too many sweets. Her idea of a snack is a half a bag of marshmallows. And when I suggest to her that those are not healthy and she shouldn't eat them, she gets mad at me. 

Then I have to remember, "How did I feel when I was in my 30's and my mom would tell me how to live my life?" Course, now I realize my mom was right, but at that time, those poor decisions were mine to make and I was gonna make them if I wanted to!

That's one of the privileges of finally becoming an adult. We get to make our own decisions! Good or bad. No more mom and dad telling me what to do, I get to choose for myself!

So where do I draw the line with Beth? When do I let her make those poor decisions like a real adult and when do I step in and tell her how to live her life?
That is the age old question for every parent of a child with special needs.

I remember when she was a teenager and still wanting to watch kids shows, like Dora the Explorer. I would occasionally let her, thinking she knew all the answers and maybe it made her feel smart. I don't know. But I also remember finally saying no. I would turn on something a little older like iCarly. And I noticed those were the shows she really liked and she never went back to the younger ones. 

I will always step in when I see Beth being childish, but I believe she will always be child-like. And I'm okay with that. 


Rebecca Jo said...

I think we all need to keep those child-like qualities - its what keeps so much JOY & innocence & happiness in the world - think of Christmas alone- that to me is a child-like joy we all love.
But you're right - childish is a different thing. & I love you help steer Beth - & all of your children - away from childish things - as any parent should do. Keep up the good work.
love this post!

bj said...

Dear know that I think you are an awesome mom..I've told you that, several times. You have done such a good job with Beth..and we all know how much God loves little children...I wish I had more of her qualities...more childlike never hurt anyone. Your mothering will always step in when you know it's for her own good.
Much love to you, Cindy.

Saimi said...

Your daughter Beth and children are who the Savior wants us to be like. Non judgmental, sweet, loving and accepting of others no matter their looks and how they dress. I worked in a Special Ed preschool for 23 years. What would get me is when a parent wouldn't give their child the benefit of the doubt by thinking they are not capable therefore allowing them to do what ever they please as well as having no boundaries. The sad thing is their behavior would grow to be out of control as they got older.

When one of the boys we had as a preschooler grew into a teenager he loved all the Disney Princesses. I think his hormones were on the right track but his mind was at a different level. It was really cute.
You are doing a great job Cindy and I love to read your stories about Beth.

ellen b. said...

You are a good mom!