Why unconditional love means accepting your child who is differently abled

It is essential that parents crush all their egoistic ambitions and perceive their differently abled child objectively as a fresh chunk of clay that may be moulded not as per their aspirations but as per the child’s need and requirement.


“It is essential that parents crush all their egoistic ambitions and perceive their child objectively as a fresh chunk of clay that may be moulded not as per their aspirations but as per the child’s need and requirement”

A still from Taare Zameen Par, a film that stresses on the acceptance of children’s different abilities.

Every parent wants the best for his child. Every parent has a dream that is very unique for that child. In spite of all this, many parents go through a struggle when they are faced with an irreversible truth- that their child has a special need.

I have been working with schools – parents, teachers and children – as a counselor/social worker in different cities for many years. My primary task, in all schools, has always been identifying learning difficulties/disabilities and guiding the family to handle the same. Most of the times, the parents are unreceptive, some even aggressive. While a few may be receptive and some may come back with inhibitions, many don’t .

Being, both, a parent and a professional, I have always wondered why parents go through the different stages of denial, anger, negotiating and sadness before accepting. While many attribute it to love, I may disagree. Love, especially the love of a parent is and always will be unconditional. Unconditional love flows irrespective of how the child is – irrespective of the child transmitting the same to the parents, unconditional love can flow only if the child is wholly accepted by the parent. Unconditional love will encourage the parent to seek the best for the child as per his/her need and not as per the parents’ wishes.

Recently, I met an educated, well-placed parent whose child is presently in class X with an extremely poor academic record. The parent handed over to me the assessment reports of the child. To say I was shocked would be a mild expression. The child had undergone assessments as early as four years of age, again when he was ten and once again a few months back, at fifteen. All the reports, each from a different assessment centre read the same diagnosis – Attention Deficit Disorder with a Dull normal IQ. All the experts had recommended pharmacotherapy. No intervention had commenced till date.

Is this “love”? Love cannot and will not cause loss. This child has lost many precious years, and is still losing out because of the lack of acceptance from the parents that he requires intervention. The parents could not accept that the child had a special need because they considered it abnormal. Although educated, they could not accept the fact that their child was not capable of performing academically as per their standard because they had set unrealistic expectations with regard to the child. This attitude of theirs not only prevented the child from receiving the right kind of assistance he deserved, but also fostered inappropriate behaviour patterns in him – he, over the years had turned in to an aggressive child. He was periodically punished by teachers and parents.

Who is responsible for the present status of this child, one of the poorest performers of his class, branded “aggressive” by teachers and absolutely no identified potential till date? His parents, of course!

The child was diagnosed very early with a special need. The parents, sadly, unable to accept the fact, went ahead with their own methods of handling. With a lack of timely, professional support, today, failure stares large at the face of the child.

It is essential that parents crush all their egoistic ambitions and perceive their child objectively as a fresh chunk of clay that may be moulded, not as per their aspirations, but as per the child’s need and requirement.

In contrast to the above case study, I recall fondly an illiterate mother who approached me a few years back with regard to her son’s academic difficulties. She followed my suggestions and the assessment indicated that the boy had an intellectual deficiency. The day both parents met me was very emotional. The semi-literate father wept because he felt guilty of having beaten his son several times for securing low marks. “It is not his fault”, was his lament. They were receptive and resorted to the open school system for the child the following year. These parents took care to cater to their child’s needs.

Unconditional love of the parent is beyond education and social class. I was truly touched by the parents’ concern; their remorse for not having identified and helped their child earlier and then providing appropriate intervention on diagnosing his difficulty. These parents loved their child unconditionally and were willing to give their best to the boy. This attitude of parents is sufficient for a child with special need to be able to bloom to the best of his capacity.

The challenge of accepting the child as he/she is and to cater to his/her needs begins right from the time when the child is conceived. Parents need to constantly be conscious of providing to the child as per his/her needs . This is extremely essential in order to nurture the innate potential of the child, special or otherwise. When parents impose their ideas and perceive the child with a “made up” image of the child, the parent-child connect gets lost.

The challenge of every parent is to constantly love their child unconditionally and enable them to grow in to an accomplished adult according to their potential. This will result in not only a happy environment but also ensure the holistic development of the child.


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mahalakshmi Rajagopal, has been a practicing mental health professional for the last fifteen plus years . She is passionate about self enhancement as a solution for various emotional blocks and believes that all these above mentioned practices are just inner blocks which need to be overcome by individuals . Her book I am my own sunshine is receiving a lot of appreciation. She has worked a lot... more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mahalakshmi Rajagopal, has been a practicing mental health professional for the last fifteen plus years . She is passionate about self enhancement as a solution for various emotional blocks and believes that all these above mentioned practices are just inner blocks which need to be overcome by individuals . Her book I am my own sunshine is receiving a lot of appreciation. She has worked a lot... more

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