Friday, April 3, 2009

No One Is Perfect: And You Are a Great Kid!

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Excerpted from Living Happily Ever After with your Daughter Today:

“When a mother finds out she’s pregnant she dreams about the life of her child. Although she might have fears and concerns about the baby’s health, she has no room in her dreams about imperfection. She has no thought, especially a first-time mom, that she might not like the child or that the child might be difficult. She thinks she is dreaming of her child, but most of all she is creating a drama in her head.”

In my forthcoming book I speak of a mother’s expectations. In the real world, children come to us with their own set of interests, strengths and weaknesses. It’s the weaknesses and differences that challenge us. It’s the challenges we’d like to wish away, especially if they are a mental, emotional or physical disability.

Kim Hix experiences this reality first hand. This is the second time I mention Kim and her son on my blog, but I feel the message is important. Kim’s 10-year-old son suffers from neuropsychiatric disabilities. Kim didn’t talk to me about the frustrations of dealing with constant and uncontrollable outbursts from her son, but I am betting if asked, she’d say this was not how her dream was supposed to play out.

According to the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry between 7 to 12 million children suffer from behavioral, mental or developmental disorders, and these numbers don’t reflect physical disabilities or other maladies.

Kim wrote No One Is Perfect and You Are a Great Kid with hopes of helping other families facing similar challenges. With her son Zack’s permission, she tells about “a very special young boy who struggles with emotional difficulties.”

“From an early age Zack has experienced an array of moods including rages, depression, anxiety and drastic mood shifts. When I began putting pen to paper to tell this story I simply needed to remember conversations and situations that involved my son and his desire to understand why he felt the way he did.”

This mom’s main concern was making sure her son understood that she loved him. She also wanted him to understand his worth was not tied to what he said or did.

“My child deals daily with overwhelming emotions and behavior that at times are uncontrollable and confusing. I feel quite certain millions of other children feel isolated, rejected and different due to a multitude of reasons, yet quietly suffer alone as they wonder ‘am I the only one?’”

If there are millions of children, then there are many more parents and grandparents asking similar questions.

Kim reminds us that our children should not feel shame if they have emotional, neurological or physical disabilities. “Our children should not feel ‘less than’ if they are not great athletes or scholars, if they are not perfect in every way.” Kim is right. No one is perfect, and no one should feel less because of it.

“It is up to the adults to teach tolerance and acceptance, to embrace the broad range of personalities and idiosyncrasies of others. I feel we must teach that our differences are what make us each unique and interesting. My son is not a perfectly well-mannered, high-achieving child, which does not lessen our love for him or his gifts to this world. He was born with complicated neuropsychiatric disabilities that manifest in behavior that is very difficult to understand.”

Kim’s willingness to share her story is heartening. “It is my hope that other children realize that despite any disabilities they may have that they too possess strengths and gifts,” she says. “A disability does not make a person, it is simply a part of who he or she is.”

To order Kim's book, visit Amazon. If you have a need for a bulk order, Kim says her publisher will offer 40% off (Booksurge). To read more about Kim, visit a previous post.

Allyn Evans
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