Social difficulties for children……

Someone once told me that children with Dyspraxia constantly eat all the time as they never feel full. Now, this wasn’t a medical opinion, it was just an observation the woman had made about a nephew of hers. Despite all of my daughter Yasmin’s learning difficulties, I was worried about this the most. Yasmin did indeed want to eat a lot and I was wondering how I could prevent her from becoming obese in her life, especially when she becomes an adult.
Firstly, the least thing I could do, was make sure I cooked proper dinners at home. Yasmin thankfully likes all kinds of food, unless it’s spicy, so I could easily get her to eat delicious chicken and vegetable stews and other rich and healthy vegetarian stews, with all sorts of veg. She loves salmon and steak too, so I have no excuse not to cook these foods, (when I can afford it!)
But she is like any other child too and she loves pizza, crisps, chips, sweets and soda’s too. And trying to keep these in moderation is difficult, especially when Yasmin is at a social occasion, like her friends many birthday party’s. Yasmin will sit at the table and eat a lot of goodies one after the other. She’s not really interacting with her pals and they aren’t interacting with her.
And I have discovered something. It’s not that Yasmin wants to sit there and eat and not talk, it is because she can’t maintain a conversation on her peer’s level. She has a social immaturity. She ‘fits in’ as a normal 11 year old if she’s munching on her food. She’s busy. She doesn’t have to try make a normal conversation.
And you know, this does sadden me a bit. I worry that she’s being left out. Her friends are very kind to her, so I don’t have to worry on that level.
So, I then have to remind myself at how well she is doing.
 Thankfully, she loves the out doors and is always active, so that balances her appetite and keeps her body healthy. She loves her pony and show jumping and despite her poor muscle strength, she has achieved to get her stubborn pony to jump over the 80’s course. She has a great drive. This is the good part of her ADHD diagnosis. She’s very active and she’s impulsive. This may prevent her from being afraid of tackling the high jumps.
 She also never gives up.
Children with learning difficulties often have a difficulty in communicating their emotions; Their fears, their worries, when they are sad. They don’t move into the next stage of development from childhood into emotional maturity. So when their bodies reach puberty, their minds are not ready for it.
This causes a lot of problems for young teenagers and their parents, which is why we and they have problems with the transition of secondary school.
Parents often miss the fact that their child may have a learning or social difficulty. And it’s not their fault completely, especially if it is their first child. We all make more mistakes on our first child and I live to tell the tale!
I think the best lesson I learned in raising my children is to accept them for who they are. And don’t push them into situations that they are not ready for. We all make the mistake of assuming our child is really assertive and well able just because they talk well and look older for their years. But if they’re ten, they are only ten!
Children with social difficulties can lose their trust for their parents very quickly after just one mistake. And they will not share things with you after that. I remember I embarrassed Yasmin at age seven, by demanding why her friends wouldn’t play with her!! After that everything is fine with Yasmin. She won’t tell me when she’s sick, feeling sad, lonely or bullied.
I’ve worked hard on my parenting skills since that day and I see the benefits of my now proper parenting, but it’s a daily process.
 Meeting the emotional needs of children is a challenging job. It’s not for the faint hearted.
But it is the difference in raising a child to reach their full potential or leaving them to the difficulties of the harsh world on their own.
You may all realise this already, but these are the kids who end up suffering with depression, turning to crime/drugs and alcohol abuse.
 Most of our services for children with social difficulties want to put our kids on tablets.
 To calm them down.
I think the psychologists who take the time to listen to whats going on for the kids and their parents are the ones who give the correct diagnosis.
Not apposed to medication at all, but as my doctor said to me when I was 22, ‘Yes, you probably do have a bit of depression, but before we go down the route of medication, lets figure it out first.’
It’s a tricky one!
Jean xx

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