Communicating with Children
Meena Dhanjal outlaw
I am at Walgreens. I am looking at a product in an aisle when I hear a commotion. I wheel out of the aisle to the noise. There’s an older woman that appears to be in her late sixties to early seventies holding her finger towards a young boy.
Don’t hit your grandmother!
The boy looks around and notices that the cashier behind the counter and another shopper is watching him. So he stops and backs off, but then he starts to yell.
“I want ninja turtle now!”
Grandmother replies “I told you don’t have the money.”
The boy goes mad. He runs off then comes back toward his grandmother in an aggressive manner. His grandmother moves around him. She’s still yelling at him to leave her alone. By this time there are several shoppers who are watching in aghast. The boy runs off but cannot maintain his temper any longer. He runs back toward his grandmother to kick her with both feet and legs, just flying into her shins. By now I can’t stand the spectacle.
“Stop!” I say.
The boy looks at me and immediately stops for a second, then goes back to hurting the older woman. So I tell him again and let him know that he must not hit her. He stops and looks at me. Then out of frustration, he runs off into another direction of the store.
As an explanation of his behavior, the grandmother says, “He has ADHD. He does this all the time. I look after him while my daughter goes to work.”
She walks off in the direction of her grandson and I take my item to the cash register. A customer behind me says,
“My son is ADHD, but he’s never done that.”
I had no words. If anything it left to me to think about my kids. If my kids hit me like that being disabled and vulnerable I know for sure I wouldn’t just take it.
I also have a son that was very hyperactive when he was younger. In fact, when he introduced himself he’d always say. “ Hi, my name is Miles and I’m hyper.” A lot of times people would just chuckle because truthfully it was very cute, but at home even within his hyperactive state, I set boundaries.
Raising children from a wheelchair is very different, but it’s similar to the older lady. I’m vulnerable and kids, well, they will test you no matter your disposition.
My children are no exception. They’ve tested me time and time again. I can’t go and pick them up to place them back in their timeout spot so I had to use my voice. At an early age, they learned very quickly when I have a happy voice, a fun voice and what I call my ‘Mommy voice’. It was the only way I could get them to listen. They also learned that that listening to me meant they remained safe.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. On the contrary, I’ve battled many tantrums inside. It took a couple of fits outside for them to realize they won’t be going out with me if they can’t listen or behave appropriately.
As much as I love my children I also knew early on that my type of parenting meant teaching them what it meant to be with me and around me. They couldn’t just jump on me and they certainly didn’t think they could get aggressive with me.
Yet, in our state of vulnerability, we tend to overlook what needs to be addressed. We ourselves either don’t know how to handle certain situations or feel a sense of guilt because of feeling vulnerable.
So what is the right way of addressing problems with your child, and what do you do when you have a child that resorts to punching or hitting you because they know you cannot defend yourself?
No parent wants to put themselves at risk of having a social worker consult with them. In my case, I did everything I could to make sure my kids were always good but eventually, they still got in confrontations at school.
Personally, I was proactive with the teachers and any authority figure. I wanted them to know that though I’m disabled I still can take care of my children.
However, if the child is so aggressive or out of control then it is time to reach out. In my case, I immediately went to my church and they helped me get to a psychologist. They even paid for the first six visits. It turned out to be the best course of action I could have taken. The psychologist communicated to the school counselor. As a result, together we worked on a plan to help my children become happier in the space they were in. We also came to find out that one of my children was being bullied because some kids found out that her mother was in a wheelchair.
Several months later my child’s ability to communicate confidently was evident. Within a short period of time, the bullying stopped.
It doesn’t take an army to raise a family, but it does help to know who is on your side when you are in need of assistance.
In my case, it was important that didn’t have to worry because I happened to be a disabled parent.
Just as an adult can be enabled with certain behaviors so can a child. Even in our disabled state, we must protect ourselves from abuse. When you have a child that’s testing your limits or more here’s who you can talk to:-
They are confidential and will give advice, as well as resources that both your child will find very beneficial.