Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Your Child Is "Different" - What Would You Do?

So, in addition to my June Blogging post which I'll have up later tonight, I want to write a post about a potentially controversial topic. And because it's controversial, I'm going to put this disclaimer:

Anyone making rude, hurtful, or discriminatory comments will be deleted. If you don't like what I have to say, you don't have to read. 

I follow Renegade Mothering, and I have for a long long time. She's one of my favorite bloggers because she is open and honest at how hard being a mother can be. Also, her kids are adorable. Today on Facebook, she posted that she wrote an article on AllParenting.com about a transgendered child by the name of Coy who was born with male anatomy, and is a triplet of two sisters. "However, according to her parents, Coy has identified with the female gender from infancy, preferring dresses and "girl" toys and asking people to call her a girl. By kindergarten, her parents allowed her to fully embrace her female identity and asked the school to treat her exactly like any other girl."

"At first, the school did just that, even allowing her to use the girls' bathroom. But a few months into her first grade year, the school decided Coy needed to use a bathroom in the school nurse's office, but not the girls', for fear that students and their parents would find the arrangement inappropriate or disturbing." You can read more about how the school handled the situation as well as Janelle's take on the situation in the rest of the article.

I don't really want to talk today about if/how a child knows that s/he is in the wrong body. I want to talk about how you as a parent would handle a situation like this.

One of my biggest fears as a potential parent that I didn't talk about last night is my fear that my child will be "different" in some way, whether that be a disability (mental or physical,) a change in sexuality, being gay/bi, etc. Let me be clear: I would love my child no less if they were "different" in any way shape or form. I am, however, scared of having to be my child's rock, role model and biggest supporter when the world can be so cruel.

So, my question I pose to you, women who are already mothers, are mothers to be, or are hoping to become mothers one day: If your child differed from the "norm," what would you say to them? What would you say if their school didn't accommodate them? What if someone on the street came up and said something to your child?

I'm scared of a situation like that happening. I absolutely hate confrontation, so I'm nervous that I would clam up and not be able to defend my child in a way they needed. Perhaps my shyness would disappear once someone confronted my child, but it's still a situation that worries me. I am in awe of the parents that stand up for their children in such public ways.

I would like to try and have a discussion about this. If you have any thoughts, please leave them in the comments.


  1. It's one of those things where it's hard to know how you would react without having been in that situation yourself. Ethan (lost in the second trimester) had downs syndrome, so I've done a lot of thinking about this - what would it be like to parent a child who was different from his peers? Even with a healthy, "normal" child, I feel heartbroken when it seems like she's being left out or treated poorly by other kids. So I cannot imagine how much worse it would be if she had a disability of some sort. A family member of mine has a daughter who was born without arms. They will have to sit there and watch her struggle to feed herself with her feet, turn the pages of books with her toes, etc. I cannot imagine how excruciating that will be for them, but they will have to do it if she is to ever gain independence (she's only one now so they're at the beginning stages). I greatly admire parents who face into those challenges with courage and dignity.

  2. I can't even imagine. Did they know that their daughter would be born without arms? I think it would be one thing to know that your child has a disability of some sort before they're born, but to be blindsided by something like that would be horrible. I admire parents who instead of ignoring the problem, do everything they can for their child.

  3. Our oldest son has some severe food allergies. He was diagnosed at 18 months. Both his preschool and elementary schools were very supportive and worked with us without any problems (many families have to fill out very specific forms regarding making classrooms or schools nut-free or whatever the student needs). His classroom last year was nut-free; his school was not.
    Many people who find out that we deal with food allergies tell me how rough it must be to live without certain foods, but honestly, it's normal for us. My son doesn't know any differently.
    There are definitely far worse things that others deal with in their daily lives.

    1. I worked at a preschool that my mom was the director of a few summers during college. There was one young girl who was so severely allergic to peanuts that we had to sit her at a different table in the lunch room if another child brought something with peanut butter. I always felt so bad for her, but she never seemed bothered by it. She was always very matter of fact about her allergy and many times told us that she wasn't allowed to eat a certain snack just in case. I'm always amazed at how grown up children with disabilities seem. You're right, many times they don't know any different so they don't seem themselves as different from the other kids.

      Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting!