Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Soul talk with my child

Soul talks
     It's just hearing impairment ... ya right it's just so simple! Yet no one would understand what comes with just " one disability". Amount one has to deal with is a story only a family of a child who has special needs can tell. Every story is different and each have their levels to deal with and goals to achieve. Ours affects her hearing, speech, intelligence, education and social acceptance.

      This evening she gave up.... like many other times. The school pressure here is immense, so much so that she has no time for herself most days. Having hearing loss brings a lot of mental and physical exhaustion trying to deal with so much info given and trying to concentrate on hearing it right and making sense of it all.  The piled up work never seems to get over and to top it she has deal with a lot of isolation and insensitive behavior of people around. She is an extremely hardworking child, perfectionist, fighter and is ready to put up a fight against all odds. She is sensitive as she has seen a lot in her life. She knows what is struggle. Small things have meant big for us as family. She knows a mean look to a warm look. She knows what not having something means. She is learning to walk away, learning to accept that people cannot change, we have have to change ourselves. She is learning to question bad behavior, learning how not to be and how she should better herself. She is eager to help those who need help because she knows what it truly means. She is grateful for every bit of help because she knows what not  having means and that little help was her world that time. As a family our values have changed and become stronger. She sees me helping others and she learns that it's important to do so. Her struggle to find her ways in the crazy world is far more than we can imagine. Yet she doesn't give up. She stands up after every fall. Today was one of such days. 

    Exhausted from too much work and dealing with insensitive remarks at school just got too much. She had Technology work that needed lot of research and work done over a month. She realized she can't do the webpage designing on a MacBook and as we don't have a MS word she was trying on Edit. After much work at home and then by a lot of support from my kind neighbor, she realized her research was wrong!!! Poor kid was devastated as tomorrow is her submission. I told her I will help by doing a bit of research with her and see where I can support. She said ...." I give up !"  When I said I can help... she said.... I will give another try ma. She and I sat and discussed how we can put it together and how instead of struggling more and trying complete and again failing.... we make choice where we take the offer of the teacher and work at school and invest that extra time at home for other things or resting her tired brain. 

    Moving to dinner table, our conversation moved to a different level. She was exhausted and empty completely. Yet these talks are important. We talked about life in general and realized how much we need to work each day to make it. She and I discussed how we can't just give up on our dreams and have to keep proving ourselves. I often relate my life incidents as examples for them to follow through. After all what I have been through hasn't been easy. Much I can disclose, a lot remains in my heart as I need to respect few relationships and people. Many of my close friends wonder how I can be so strong after seeing through so much, but then life is a teacher and we have to bear our crosses. So shall she. Her frustrations are real and much as I try, I can only help her that much. I talked to her and I find she is so much stronger than I am at her age. having a disabilty made her very strong and gives her the power to know herself much better than most her age. Telling her and affirming her own power and then to walk from there... is something I help with. That gives her the feeling that she is doing right and moves with conviction. With her disabilty, its much harder as its not a seen one and hence no one understand how much it affects her life! So this power she has to have it in her own hands now and always. As a mum, I need to lead her there.
       As we ended our talk, I realize how much mature my child is and how much I am able to understand her better with these talks. Often sitting down and expressing fears and using examples of life gone by, we can help them to work better and be more motivated about the life that's still waiting for them. We as parents need to be that support that helps them to lead them back to their own selves. Letting them find their path when they are lost and motivate themselves when they are low and finding out what works for them is something they need to learn and as parents we need to help them by having these "soul talks" with your child.

Family mental health

Together through it all!

     Gone are those days when discussing mental health was a taboo or stigma. Today with the stress of lifetsyle have given us emotional and mental pressures to deal with. Life is harder and peer pressure and manintaing sanity is becoming a great challenge. We suffer from depression, anger manangment issues, feeling of isolation, competition, social acceptance, popularity issues, social media pressures and many many more. We are more lonely than ever before thanks to the lifestyle and gifts of modern times. This applies to every single person and I doubt there is anyone who has no pressures or is not suffering from mental issues. Its just how we all deal with it that makes the difference. Few buckle under it and few learn to fight all the way....this way or that it does lead to a lot of damage or scars left behind.
      This made me think about my life and the mental health in my family. Its been a very challenging life trying to deal with many issues but what topped the list was dealing with a disability and issues that surrounded it or came with it. Its a life time commitment with emotional, psychological, financial and mental pressures. Every moment is a surprise or a shock and no moment can be taken for granted. The mental stability of family is always dwindling with situations and it needs all the might to keep it going. Each point in my life I have been connected very deeply with my own self and that helped me deal with issues that affect others. What doesn't appeal to yourself cannot appeal to others as well. Putting myself in the shoes of others helped me deal with it even better. I am pretty sensitive and though it did help me deal with others very sensitively, it did leave its impact on me. Being the oldest child I saw the struggles of my parents and they trying their best to give us all they could. Having younger siblings came with responsibilities which I did handle to the best I could. It did make me a giver and seldom asked for help for myself. Thus my foundation was laid for life where I did become more of a giver and in return needed lot of love and acceptance. At times it came and at times it didn't which was a disappointing but I guess I became resilient and learnt the pschology of human behaviour well. I have been very closely using the learning on my family and learning more on the way as well. It does help me understand more deeply and am able to use it for the workshops and talks I use or with mums who seek help from me on various topics.
      Many times I notice that when there are meltdowns and mentally tiring issues...easiest is to give in to the situations or ignore it all together with the motto....this too shall pass. We don't realize though that nothing just passes by without leaving an effect on the person. By ignoring or giving in we could be actually allowing it to grow bigger. Years later we find it even harder to address the issues. Many mums ask me about these meltdowns and them being afraid of addressing it when kids are younger as they fear being labelled as " bad mums with ill behaved kids". They fail to understand every child has these moments and sooner we start to work on the children early, the easier it would be as family to address them in coming years. Yes....Its a lot of hard work holding the bull by its horn. Be it an arguement with the spouse, to his family, your family and your kids or the neighbors. Chances are we are trying to run away from these as we " fear facing these demons" Yes I find them hard too but I know by brushing them under the carpet doesn't really work. So what do I do? I address them as soon as I can. If its a tantrum of my child...I would put it in place as soon as I can. Hold him with his hands in front of me...Look him in the eye and TALK ! Tough? Oh yes it is and still is....but kids are smart...when they see that you are talking from experience and all that you do is coming true...they learn to respect your experience. Its hard to talk to an angry spouse or a sulking relative or a friend who is avoiding you due to some nagging issue....the idea is to talk however hard and face the reality. One thing I always follow is....telling the truth, however hard it maybe. My kids know that when they tell the truth, whatever blunder they make, mum would listen and forgive and support them to come out of it. We have a pact there...they ask me..."you won't shout mum if I tell you?" They know they are safe as I shall then help them. It helped to make a bridge of comfort. But that doesn't mean we have a honeymoon each time...its still tough and parenting brings a lot of tears and sweat each day at every stage of their growing up years. Life isn't a colorful bubble and hence let them see the real world. The world out there is real and we can't protect them always.
     Once the kids respect you and value your opinions..half your battle is won. My bond with my kids is very close and that helps me to be their constant supporter and we talk like friends where I never shy away from talking facts or showing a mirror often. What's important is for the spouse to follow the same. They can and will feel a kind of " rivalry" as to why kids listen more to the mum, but then we spend more time together since their birth. There are certain rules we do follow in our family and they help us deal with it well. I deal with the emotional and day to day issues and my husband takes over their studies and planning of their lessons etc. Yet we do have our moments and then we work on it as a family. This helps to know what is going on in the minds of everyone and helps build a kind of dependence for comfort. In times that are hard we seek the support of each other as everyone outside of your family unit has different opinions and what works for them may not work for you. As we grow older we imbibe more from the outside world and though we grow in the same family, each sibling does turn out different but few sets of values put in early years does help. No matter what happens between my kids and they are 7.5 years apart, I make sure they know what's happening in each other's lives and keep doing things to keep them connected. The world is a complicated place and as years are going by, its going to be even tougher. Its hence important that they know that have each other's back no matter what! Its a daily process and my investment on this front is very high. I had built up few methods to help my son deal with the sibling coming in the family, my husband learning to spend time with kids beyond the TV and me sitting and working on the issues that bother them. It all takes a toll on me many times but this is far more important than a lunch outing at that moment. I have found ways to deal with it through my counseling mums, writing, spreading the little I know and of course cooking! It all helps to keep my family together. Like my son said in an email recently...." however ill you were, you made sure we had hot fresh food for us each day". Isn't that what we seek that the kids recognize, the spouse understands and we are connected on many issues that are most vital for family bonding.
     Never take anything in the family for granted. Address it as soon as you can. Little things we do, shall help the family stay together. Life in't easy in present times. I have seen so much of tough times and tough decisons to be it money ( its never enough when you are a single person earning), my son with his emotional nature, his studies and him moving away very far from us to Prisha being deaf, being bullied extensively at her school, to adjusting with the hearing world to country changes adaptations etc etc. Being a parent is the toughest these days and with so much stress around the health today, it is very much of a concern. Fortunately we 4 are very resilient and we break, fall, scrape our knees, limp and walk again with the help of each other.  Giving up should not be a solution as that's the worst we could do as a family. Know what works for you and find ways to work around issues. It could be as easy as using a counselor, talking to a "real" friend each day who can help you see issues better, reading books or articles and using your own intuitive voice that helps you know things better. Have your "me time" but make sure you know what is happening in your family. Don't be a helicoptor parent or spouse but be involved and never run away from the situations. Remember that if you run away from problems, you are setting an example for your family to do the same. Kids emmulate what you set the right example and see how well your family bonds well and works through all the tough times together and individually. It shall be a great way to work with your family health always.