Sara - posted on 08/21/2009 ( 1 mom has responded )
Will I Be a Good Parent?
Friday, May 16, 2008
By: Kathy Longley
Reprinted from FMOnline
Good parenting means different things to different people. Each family has its own approach and its own ideas about what is best for their children. What is important to remember is that being physically limited does not stop you from giving your children what they need and being a superb parent. Parents with physical limitations tend to worry or even feel guilty that they can't take part in rough-and-tumble activities, but what children tend to value most is your time and attention—which can be given in so many different ways. According to the UK Disabled Parents’ Network, parents with physical limitations often make better parents as they take life at a slower pace, they need to have more of a routine (which children respond well to), and they allow children to do things for themselves, encouraging them to be more resourceful and independent. You may not be able to play chase in the park or take them ice skating, but you will always be there to read them stories, give cuddles, and do all sorts of creative activities.
Children are very adaptable. When they are little, they will assume that whatever you are able or not able to do is perfectly normal and the way it should be. If you find your children a struggle to pick up, for example, then they will soon learn to clamber onto your lap for a cuddle or to stand on a little stool to make it easier for you to lift them.
Playtime can seem like quite a challenge, but you can adapt it to suit your own capabilities. If you find it difficult to sit on the floor, for example, you could arrange games on little tables that you can both reach, or perhaps even on the bed where you can both sit comfortably together.
"A couple of large floor cushions are great for playing with young children on the floor,” says Alex. “Not only do the children love climbing on them, but they also offer you some support. Have a special box area in your living room for your child's toys and from an early age make a game of putting away the toys after playing. It encourages the child to tidy up afterwards and saves you a lot of hard work bending over to pick things up.”
Your child will simply want to spend time with you and will be quite happy to engage in whatever activity you can offer. (As with all activities, it is important to pace yourself!)
"Play with your children within your own limitations, as then you are at your ease and your children get a happy mum who is attentive and joining in their life on their level,” suggests Linda. “I tended to play more educational games that we could sit down and do, as well as painting, drawing, and making crafts. We went out for leisurely walks and some nature rambles instead of doing physical sporty activities. My daughter now attends a private school, having won an academic scholarship; I think my disability and limitations had a positive effect for her education.
“With my son, who is nine months old, I tend to do similar things like singing, rhymes, stories, and activities which I can easily manage and that are fun for him. I think it is important to get as much rest as possible and find other people to do the things that wear you out; for example, I have a lady who comes in every two weeks and clears the ironing, and my husband does the floors, vacuums the stairs, and cleans the windows—all things that overtax my body.
“Above all else, enjoy your children as they are not children for long these days and the house work will always be there waiting!"
You may find a playpen is useful for when you are tired and need to rest, but need to know that your child is safely occupied. If it is difficult to lift the child in and out of the playpen, consider either buying one with or adapting one so that one side opens completely. It is also a common technique to make a game of putting the toys away so that you are not having to bend over and tidy things away yourself and your child is learning to be independent.
As your children grow up and become more independent, then the physical strain of caring for them can lessen. You may now find that your child starts to ask questions about fibromyalgia. It is important to be honest and explain as much as you can about how it feels and what is happening in your body. You may want to explain that sometimes the pain and fatigue can make you frustrated and a bit irritated, and assure your children that it is in no way their fault. They will probably want to help out and will enjoy helping you with tasks that you struggle with. Remember that all parents ask children to help around the house and it is good for them to be involved in household activities as it brings about a sense of responsibility and independence.
Most important of all is to simply enjoy being with your children. They grow up so fast, and you don't want to miss it!