I’m really grateful that I received so much feedback to my earlier post around your child’s emotional and behavioral responses.
Learning how to bring out a conversation from a cleft lip/cleft palate/craniofacial child when he or she shuts down because of strong emotions is certainly a challenge. It would be for any child, yet I know because of the challenges that parents and family members face with the young child that it can feel overwhelming.
I remember when I was around 7 years old, my parents attempted to divorce. Now I had really no idea what was going on because the only thing I was told was that my father asked me if I wanted to go stay at my aunt and uncle’s for a while. I said yes. My mother reacted like I had just killed her. It felt that way, OK. My stomach (the place where all of my internal pain resides) was upset and I felt it. But I did not know how to effectively share my feelings and emotions with my parents. The dominant emotions were fear and anger for me at that age.
Interacting with the outside world when others are looking at the craniofacial anomaly ONLY also is something to overcome. It is good to remember that a lot of people at a young child’s age are, well, not well informed when it comes to how their children look. Some of that comes from ill-informed parents (in my humble opinion) and some comes from whatever the “cultural norm” look is for that day.
Being able to talk, speak and even wave in a friendly manner might be too much to do.
This can especially happen within a school environment. Children just may not know or understand your child’s facial look, slow speech, speech impediment, cleft lip, cleft palate … they may just see the visual side of your child and not have the ability to see beneath that or into his or her eyes. I can’t make this as a blanket statement because there just might be one or two children who are able to say hi and connect in a way that will turn into a friendship. It’s also helpful when teachers understand a child’s abilities and will actually listen to the parent or guardian.
Good teachers can be great gateways to growth not only intellectually but emotionally, too.
These are all important issues to cover, and covering all of them in one post would be impossible.
I will be offering a series of teleseminars very soon that touch on these and other topics for those 3- to 8-year-olds in your lives. More information about these teleseminars will be coming out soon.
In the meantime, tell me what TWO questions not covered in this message that you have that can help your child’s emotional life become easier? Leave your questions below and I’ll see them.
Thanks so much and take care.
Every minute counts … and you are loved.