When a Child is Different

This is a difficult subject to address. Not just because of its obvious sensitivity, but also because there is no one right way to talk about it .

Speaking from experience, this is by far one of the most challenging issues a parent could face and it does not get easier in time. It is always a delicate subject, whether the difference is noticeable, physical, mental or developmental.

As parents, we want our kids to fit in. We want to shield them from judgement, prejudice and mean comments. Kids can be very cruel, however adults can be equally insensitive. Some differences in appearance could be altered cosmetically but that doesn’t mean they will completely disappear or that the child’s self value or self confidence will change accordingly. So, what do you do? 

First accept the fact. Accept that as a parent you have limited ability to protect your child, or change the situation. Second, let it go. If you shrink, cringe or just well up every time this subject comes up, especially in front of your child, they will sense it and it will hurt them.

This one is a hard one to practice. Sometimes another child will innocently ask about it, and you will be put to the test. So deep breath. You must remain calm. The next thing you say is up to you, but should be something along the lines of “Yes, he was born this way”. That pretty much eliminates most of the questions. Once your child is present in a situation where this is talked about openly he or she will be more comfortable with talking about it too. Confidence is key. Even if you don’t feel it, fake it. For your child’s sake. 




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