Parents have a natural inclination to love and care for their children which many times translates into worry for their well being. When this worry or anxiety becomes excessive it is what we call a helicopter parent- a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children. This can become stifling for a child and can cause them to feel resentment or anger towards the parent. Although the parent only wants the best for their child, it ends up hurting their relationship.
When a parent finds out that they are having a child with a disability, many times there is an added sense of worry and anxiety. When the baby is young, they constantly need to worry about all their various medical needs and they need to revolve their entire world with the various surgeries, procedures, doctor appointments, medications etc. There can also be an added component of unfounded guilt from the parents who take responsibility for their child’s disability- as if they were in control, which in most cases is not at all the situation.
Being born with Spina Bifida which many doctors say can be caused by a lack of folic acid in the pregnant woman, has made me the product of such a situation. My mom has stopped her entire life to care for all my many medical needs as I was a baby and needed full-time care. She took me to my many medical appointments, surgeries, therapies etc. As I grew up, I became an independent woman and do not appreciate others hovering over my every move. I have learned to live a full life in spite of my disability. In fact, I don’t let it affect my life very much at all. I have always been in a completely mainstreamed environment and for the most part, being able to function just like any typical person. My mother still sees me as the helpless child and seeks to assist me in every area of my life which causes me to feel stifled. The way I learned to deal with this is by keeping my life private and not letting her in. I feel bad that this is the way it had to turn out and I will continue to try and work on this relationship.
It is imperative for all parents to learn to let go so that they can enable their child to learn to fly on their own. For parents with a child with a disability, this may have to be a more conscious decision. I understand that this is extremely difficult, but trust me, in the long run, this is the healthiest way to live.