As a parent with a special needs child you all, I am sure, have at least one family member or close friend that thinks you should baby your child. I know I have come across this in my short time, as a special needs parent. My family wants to feed her and not let her walk freely, but carry her everywhere. It can be very frustrating when we, as parents, are trying to teach our child independence but as soon as they are around grandpa they revert back to an infant.
Here is an example; when we first got Mia home everyone wanted to hold and play and cuddle and kiss her. Which is great as it shows she is greatly loved. But at the same time they never let her explore her surroundings and insisted on her sitting on their laps or holding her hand. When we are at home Mia is free to walk to whole house, we close the doors to the rooms we don’t want her in or put up a baby gate. Mia is very comfortable in our home and will readily go play in her room or walk into the kitchen to feel around. Yet at our family members houses she is not able to explore and get to know her surroundings. She is held or kept right in front of the family member. And although she is comfortable in one or two rooms in the house, if she does not know where whoever the person that she wants is she get scared and cries.
I have learned that we as parents need to stand up to our friends and family and let them know. I have told family members, “If you want her to become comfortable here she needs to be free to roam and explore.” That usually does the trick, yet there are still those sticklers that no matter what you say are not going to let Mia be independent in their home.
The key is to remain focused and consistent in your expectations. If you let your best friend do everything for your baby then he/she is likely to continue to do everything. You have to hold your ground, you will probably hear, “but she can’t do it alone” or “well she just doesn’t know any better”. These are not acceptable reasons. You need to be able to back it up with “but she needs to learn to do it alone” or “ or she does know better and if I let her get away with it now she will think she can do it regularly.”
Basically what I am saying is know what you expect and stay you ground. Let your friends and family know from the beginning your expectations and don’t falter. Of course there are certain things that your child is going to need help with, but he/she also needs to learn to do those things independently.