According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 1,500 babies with upper limb reductions and 750 with lower limb reductions are born in the United States every year. This implies that approximately 4 out every 10,000 babies are born with such defects. The question is, what difference does it make for physically challenged children who are growing up with congenital limb difference or without limbs at all?
There is no doubt that such children have to overcome a set of unique challenges that those with normal physical development will never need to. And as parents, it’s important to provide the needed support in helping these kids rise above such predicaments. Laying the groundwork for confidence is essential in helping your kids navigate their interactions with others and reinforcing their self-esteem.
However, here’s a fascinating fact: A recent study shows that children with upper limb difference actually have better emotional health and sense of emotional balance. This was presumed to be because they have to deal with more judgments than other children. They learn to take criticism and deal with it. They also become better communicators.
In spite of this seemingly positive response of physically challenged children, there is a number of those who have gone or are going astray. Parents must be wary of how to deal with their children. A steady emotional development approach should be in place. Here’s a simple emotional development guide for physically challenged kids, particularly for those with upper and lower limb reductions:
Encourage your child to communicate about small things and big things
It’s crucial for parents to maintain an open door policy with their kids. They should encourage their children to communicate about their whereabouts and daily interactions. This will help you determine if your little has encountered challenging situations that they need help processing. It’s important that you know if your child has been teased bullied so that you can observe how they respond to such a situation.
To keep an open line of communication, avoid asking open-ended questions such as ‘did you have a good day?’ Instead, ask specific questions such as how their day went, who they met, and what had happened during different parts of the day.
From there, you will be able to determine whether there are concerning issues that your child has been struggling with – teasing and bullying, for instance. From there, you can indirectly ask what emotional impact it has and see how your child manages to cope. Then, you can acknowledge and validate your child’s feelings, assisting them through the situation and ensuring that they come out stronger than ever.
This approach will help your child maintain a sense of emotional balance. He or she will be more understanding and mature when having to deal with such situations. At the same time, he or she will be able to defend himself, overcome challenges, and deal with them victoriously.
Teach your child to control their emotional responses
It’s important as well that you teach your child to manage their emotional responses with people when confronted with seemingly unfavourable situations.
People will inevitably have opinions that they voice. Children, as young as they are, might have the tendency to judge, tease, and even bully a physically challenged child. While we cannot control the way that people see and deal with us, we have a say in how we respond to them. An old adage says, “do not get upset with people or situations; both are powerless without your reaction.”
Of course, this is not easy at all. The usual response is to fight back either verbally or physically. There will be an outburst of anger. Given that, your role as a parent is to teach your child to have a deeper understanding of people and take them as they are. Teach your child to breathe and even brush off feelings when confronted with a difficult situation. Let him or her take some time to understand the situation and accept their condition. By doing so, he or she can simply laugh at the situation and let it go.
Help your child build good interpersonal relationships
Finally, building good interpersonal relationships is essential to your child’s growth and translates into him or her becoming a better adult.
This all begins with confidence. You need to boost your child’s self-esteem. The first thing you can do is help them accept his or her differences. Then, it’s just a matter of letting them discover what they are capable of doing. Encourage your child to join art classes, or even learn music or dance, depending on what interest they have and what hidden talents can be unleashed.
With confidence and good self-esteem, your child will not shy away from people. He or she will learn to mingle with people, despite physical differences. He or she will learn to establish rapport with strangers and acquaintances. In time, he or she will learn to build good interpersonal relationships with people. This way, your child will be able to gain friends and live life just as any other kid does.
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