Increase Dad’s Help with a Child with a Disability – How To

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Increase Dad’s Help with a Child with a Disability – How To

dad and me at sox game

Dads are the essential part of a family. If the family has a child with a disability, the dad sometimes is not willing to take care of the child. Sometimes they are scared of helping the child for one reason or another. I think it is scary for anyone but you just have to learn how to do it. I am going to give you some ways to help your husband to overcome this fear.

Stressful

Having a new child is really stressful because the parents have to learn everything on the spot, and if the child has a disability, it is more stressful. I think that men often-associate disability with fragile. This is true with a few types of disabilities but for the most part, the child is usually fine with somebody handling them like any other child. I have noticed this with my own male caregivers, and sometimes I have to tell them that I am not fragile.

The Wife

The wife is often the one who handles the child the most so she knows the child’s body the best. The only way that the dad can overcome this fear is by handling the child. It might be just holding the child while the wife is nearby. As the time goes by, the dad should get more comfortable in handling the child. In time, he should be helping more.

Dads’ Dreams

Sometimes dads get excited about having a son, but when they find out that their son has a disability, they think they won’t be able to do sports with their son. This is not always true. There are adapted sports that the child can do with their dad. If they think their son will make the pros someday, this is just a dream for all dads. Less than 1% of all kids make it to the pros so it is not like having a disability will have a huge impact in hurting the son from becoming a pro. Besides a person with a disability can go to the Paralympics. If I made the Paralympics with Baccia, I know that my dad would be really proud of me.

Dads’ Involvement

Sometimes some dads want no part of their child with a disability at all. In my mind, this is so sad, and you cannot change their minds. All you can do is to keep showing them what the child is doing and one day they might change their minds. I am not saying that will happen, but you never know. The parents have to be credited for doing everything in their power to give their child a good life. I heard many times from parents that the child with disability enriches the whole family. They see it as a blessing and not a burden.

Swapping Roles

I know a couple who has two boys with a disability and the wife is the breadwinner and the husband is the stay at home dad. There were a couple of reasons why they decided this way – he was a flight attendant” so he would be gone for a few days and besides the wife could make more money. Both parents are really involved in their boys’ lives.

dad and me at sox game

My Parents

When I was young, which was many years ago, my parents had a system that worked really well. My mom handled me while he was at work, but when he came home; he took over in helping me. My dad as a truck driver so he came home at all kinds of hours. He was tired but he knew that mom was tired too.

No Right Way

There is no right way of dividing the care of your child with a disability. There has to be some balance of care between the wife and the husband. It might mean that the wife takes care of the child on the days that the husband works, and on the days that he is off, he has to take care of the child. I know that life is very different from 40+ years ago. Although, taking care of a child with a disability does not change that much. I am not saying that all disabilities are alike. What I am saying is that if a child who is similar to me might require similar care.

Parenting is not easy for everybody and kids to make their parents’ life stressful and that is what they do. With a child with a disability, parenting is time-consuming. Dads sometimes aren’t opened to help with the child. If you are a mom of a child with a disability and had to work with the dad to help you, what did you do to encourage him to help with the child? Please leave a comment below. We help each other here at Disability Awareness.

 

  • Zyshma Khan says:

    This is a very nice post! I think it is very important for both parents to be involved when it comes to children, even if the child does not have any disability. Dads are just as important as moms are. Overall, amazing post Chris Lenart.

  • Good read and I believe part of the problem is generational. I’m the second child in a family of six but the only one who contracted polio. My parents were part of that “silent majority” generation, the parents of the baby-boomers. There was never a doubt in my parents mind that we were all treated the same, in fact I probably had even more latitude due to the amount of time I spend in the Children’s Hospital (that was the way that generation dealt with most of the polio’s, institutionalizing us was easier than making the community more accessible) so those few times I was home I went a little crazy and got away with it. A number of my friends that knew me in high school usually describe my life as West Side Story without the music.

    I’m now writing a reverse of your article focused on being a disabled parent. My son was never really aware of my disability until other kids started pointing things out to him…made for some interesting dynamics when he hit his teen years. I don’t know about others but there can be some difficulties on ones self-esteem when you become dependent on someone else to teach your son how to play football or any other physical activity. Anyone else have experience with that? For the record I competed as a 17 year old in the very first Canadian National Wheelchair Games held in Montreal and then spend over twenty years as a wheelchair athlete but no where near the level of athleticism we see today.

    But I liked your article. I have forwarded it to my 92 year old mother (my father passed away 20 years ago) and I’m sure she will give me some feedback but again generational. Thanks

    • Chris Lenart says:

      If you want to post your article here, I would honest to have it.

      • Thanks I will send you the link when I finish it. I’m working on two others right now as well for a contract but actually see some benefit and commonality in the process of “Confirmation bias” playing a role in the article regarding being a parent with a disability. I’ll get back to you Chris and thanks. In the meantime you may find this of interest. It can be a challenge to separate well meaning individuals in our life’s from toxic personalities… https://terrywiens.com/2018/07/30/opening-your-own-door/

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