Challenges faced by disabled parents of teens

Disabled man Rafael Dos Santos is helped by his mother at the AACD in Sao Paulo

BY LISA MASUKU

Raising kids is very challenging and it is even more challenging to nurture them. This is a very challenging stage even for teenagers themselves, it is at this stage in their lives where they want to explore and experiment a lot of things.  It is at this very stage in the youngsters lives where most parents develop shaky relationships with their children and it is at this stage where most adolescents are Mr/ Miss Know it all! They do not want to be told anything because feel they are on top of their game.

Now image how challenging it can be for an emotionally exhausted and stigmatised disabled parent to maintain a firm relationship with their teen to make sure they do not lose them. It is at this phase in teens lives where if parents manage to understand the puberty stage their kids are going through and be there as a mum, friend and mentor and not as a judge or constant critic  they can successfully build a strong relationship for life with the teenagers. However, it is also during this period most parents usually lose the bond they have with their kids completely because as a parent once one fails to build a strong foundation with the teenage the kid is bound to slowly drift away. Therefore, it becomes difficulty to mend and develop a good relationship in the future.  Parents with disabilities when growing up usually experience

Deprivation and neglect

�        abuse and trauma

�        poverty, unemployment and lack of job skills

�        mistreatment at the hand of “helpers”

�        overwhelming circumstances

Given this, it can be a real great challenge for disabled parents to be confident booster for their adolescent kids and succeed in teaching the teens about life. Most disabled parents who experienced neglect, deprivation and abuse may have

low self-esteem

�        shut down out of fear

�        confusion and panic

�        inability to cope and comply

�        lack of trust

�        self-protective defences

As a parent with a disability how then do you keep your head held up high, fighting and conquer despite all the stigma and society’s disdain towards people with disability.   It’s more like it is a crime to be disabled and have kids. Society is quick to cast judgements and is of the notion “What was she thinking, having kids when she is disabled?” It is more like it’s a taboo to be disabled and have sex yet as much as one is disabled they do have a heart, feelings and emotions. As such, society ought to understand that being disable does not mean one is emotionless and yes disabled people also fall in love because they are just normal human beings who happen to be disabled.

Sijabuliso Ncube a disabled mother of two teens who are twins knows these struggles. She can relate to all the stereotypical perceptions which are channeled towards disabled people like her. She has experienced society’s unjust treatment towards disabled people. She has been blamed and judged for falling in love by society to the extent that she thinks that society is justified. She feels sometimes she is an emotional wreck to a point she cannot even be there for her kids emotionally at a crucial stage in their lives when they need her the most. Instead of being their shoulder to cry on they are the ones babysitting her.

Although the father of her kids immediately disappeared the moment she fell pregnant she doesn’t regret meeting him because for her it was the greatest thing to ever happen to her.  Even though it was also short lived it was her first time to experience LOVE. All her life she was so used to neglect from her family and friends but when the father of her two bundle of joy came into her life for the first time in her life she felt wanted.

She says all she yearns for is for society to accept disabled people and understand that being disabled does not inability

HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY TO ALL  MOTHERS, WIVES, SISTERS

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