Managing a Child's Learning Disability: Be Frustrated
Frustration is fuel for the battles we wage on behalf of our kids. Working with educators, academic bureaucrats, and legal protection is a formula for frustration. Add to the scenario that the person everyone is talking about is your child and you have an explosion waiting to happen.
Some rules to guide you:
- Gather your facts;
- Take twenty four hours between the upsetting situation and action;
- Know what outcome you want for your child,
- Get a meeting with everyone, plus a big gun (e.g. the principal or superintendent).
There will be outrageous situations that will occur. Some will be due to the complex nature of the many moving parts of an IEP and the unique needs of your child as she travels from teacher to teacher, classroom to classroom. Some will be overt rebellion from teachers who believe they don't have to abide by the IEP. Whatever the source, the situations will occur. Be upset, be frustrated, be angry and then take action.
Give your child permission to be frustrated too. She needs to be able to express her frustration, attach a name or a situation to it and then get over it. There are many times when there are no answers and no way to fix what has occurred. Be willing to acknowledge that and attest to the fact that life isn't fair. Then put your collective energies into fighting the battles that will forward the cause. When it is a lousy situation and there is no remedy, talk it through and then let it go.
We may be resistant to anger, but it is healthy. It is also an excellent lesson for your child to be furious and express that fury as loudly and for as long as she needs to. And then to let it go and move on. It is important to hold her accountable when she is the one responsible for falling short of the plan, and it is equally important to acknowledge when we, as adults, screw up.
This is a constant emotional upheaval that lasts for years and years. Feeling sorry for yourself or allowing your child to is not okay. Of course it isn't fair. A therapist once told me that the only 'fair' is held each year in farm country where you get to eat the corn harvested right from the field and the prize winning animals are brought for display. It is what it is.
We are believers that you take the hand you are dealt and find the solutions. Note, we don't 'accept' the hand, but we do take it, analyze it and then deal with it. Danielle is a person who operates from a place of:
- What are the facts?
- What are the solutions?
- How fast can we implement them?
We both feel impatient and confused when people want to talk and talk about a problem, but, in fact, are not seeking a solution. We are about action and our energy is reserved for problems that we can resolve.
Reprinted with permission: Surviving Learning Disabilities Successfully: Sixteen Rules for Managing a Child's Learning Disabilities, "Rule #9: Be Frustrated". Copyright 2007 Nancy E. Graves and Danielle E. Graves.