I’m a huge advocate for teaching others in our society why it’s important that we don’t label kids with disabilities. As a special needs mother, it’s my job to advocate for my child, as it is for so many other parents. When it comes to harsh judgments, opinions, and comments. Those things should be left at the back door.
Today I was asked to be on the radio to discuss how I felt about having a child with a mental illness, and how I felt kids with disabilities don’t deserve the labels people often give them. Heck, it’s not just kids. We as a society on a whole need to label everything. We have to attach a stigma to something. What we don’t realize is that stigma wraps itself around a child like a vice and can become a dark spot that stays with them for the rest of their lives.
One thing that really annoys me is the stigma attached to kids with disabilities and how it affects them. It’s important that kids are allowed to grow and flourish. To discover who they are and what they want from life without any type of label getting in the way of that. I am very honest and open with both of my boys about my own mental illness. There is no reason for me to hide it from them. It’s a fact of life. Not everyone is perfect. We all have some type of challenge we face.
I also want to make sure that my youngest child feels comfortable dealing with his own issues. Kids with disabilities often have a hard time knowing where they fit in.
I want my son to understand it’s important that he accepts himself for who he is. His disabilities don’t define him but they do add to the person he is.
- I’m short
- I have green eyes
- I have black hair
- I have a discolored complexion
- I’m fat
- I have cancer
- I snore like a wild boar
- I have anxiety disorder
- I have bipolar disorder
These are all labels that could be attached to me. That doesn’t mean they make-up who I am, what I’ve been through in my life, or which direction I’m headed.
The other day my son wanted to paint his nails with me. He sat beside me while I was doing my own nails and asked if he could do his as well. Of course, I was more than happy to let him explore. That is when my oldest piped up, making fun of the situation. “Boys don’t paint their nails! That’s a gay thing to do!”
Boy oh boy was I on that right away.
Excuse me? We don’t talk like that in this house. Your brother can do whatever he wants. We don’t put each other down, call each other weird and just because he’s a boy doesn’t mean he can’t paint his nails!
I was angry with my son for making such accusations and teasing his little brother. Then I thought, well, of course, he will though. That’s what society does and what it teaches our kids. It’s a shame really if you ask me because I think kids should be free to just be kids, to learn and experiment and grow without facing the challenge of thinking there is something wrong with them.
We all have things wrong with us.
Nobody is perfect.
My husband helped Trace with his nails and Trace loved it. He’s such a carefree and open kid. He didn’t let what his brother said upset him. He did his nails, then removed the color and painted them again!
Gosh, I sure hope my son always stays carefree. That he can always be himself. Labels and all. I hope he tries new things he’s never done before without