Who’s Deaf? You or Your Child?

My son’s vision has become such that he needs to always wear his glasses now. This happened so slowly that he didn’t realize what he was missing until he finally saw it. He was excited at the world around him; like seeing things for the first time.

What are you helping your child see? My biggest concern was that he saw the songs for church that are projected on the wall. Second of course is that he see what his teacher is writing on the board. As parents we are to show our children the world around them, but if they can’t see it, hear it or comprehend it, what do we do?

I spent a weekend at a dude ranch a few years back and the family that hosted us had an adopted child from Mexico. She was about my son’s age at the time, around seven years old, and she didn’t speak. It’s not that she lacked the physical capabilities to do so or that she didn’t understand English or Spanish; she understood a little of both, but rather she had not heard much of any speech for the first few years of her life. After being abused because her parents thought she was being disrespectful in not communicating, doctors discovered that both of her ears were impacted and totally sealed off. She wasn’t being defiant; she couldn’t hear. I can’t imagine the guilt the parents must have felt when they learned this.

How many times have we as parents disciplined our children for not understanding something? Not because they chose not to, but because we weren’t communicating well. Have you yelled and screamed, frustrated at your child’s behavior only to realize later that he or she didn’t hear or understand you? It happens. We are parents but we aren’t perfect.

It is our job to help our children learn and by doing this we must also make sure they understand. Asking an 18 month old to do something he or she isn’t developmentally ready for is only asking for parental angst to begin. Not helping your teen boy with his own anxiety is setting him up to look for relief through drugs. Not telling your teenage daughter that you love her, dad, is pointing her in the direction of boys who will pay her attention to her own emotional detriment.

As you are guiding your child through life, make sure you are on the same page at the same time and in the same book. If he or she is frustrating you, chances are they are just as confused and maybe even more so than you.