Sunday, February 06, 2011

Parenting woes??

Parenting a normal child has not been easy but it somehow seems to be manageable but parenting a child who is ‘different’ is a challenge. One would not know before hand whether a child is normal or differently able. When one does understand that his/her child is autistic or dyslexic or has an attention deficiency they find it difficult to accept it as a medical condition. The first reaction is that since everyone else in the family was normal there was no reason why their child had to be different.

“He/she is plain lazy” they often say. “He does not want to make an effort.”

I know of a boy S who was not able to read or write since he was dyslexic. His mother who was working in a bank failed to identify the problem and sent him for tuitions saying that he would be forced to follow a routine if an outsider coached him. The tuition master was not a trained teacher but a retired bank employee who took up tuitions to keep himself engaged. Since the mother had asked him to be strict with the boy, he had no hesitation in hitting him hard or throwing bound books and note books on his face. It took them a while to understand the problem and they finally got special permission for him to be assessed on oral tests and to their surprise he showed a good understanding of the subjects including Science but he simply could not read or write. For his 10th boards he got someone to write for him and he passed with a high second division. The boy is now married and runs a nursery for plants and is called by builders to beautify the apartment complexes built by them. He maintains the gardens of at least six schools in town and has 12 to 15 employees working for him. He has a sound knowledge of plants, their flowering and fruiting seasons and the quality/ intensity of light required for each plant in the nursery. I wouldn’t know if he remembers the thrashings he received as a child or the humiliation he was subjected to. To me he comes across as a cheerful young man who knows his business. Yes, try getting a sapling from him for free and the businessman in him is on high alert!

Another boy K known to me is not dyslexic but is just not interested in regular studies. His dad is an administrative officer and would pluck out stars from the sky if he could to see his son do well in studies. The boy is everything that his father would not want him to be. He would like to learn to play the guitar or train in fusion music. He is generous hearted and thinks nothing of giving away costly branded sweatshirts and jackets to needy children saying that he has more shirts than he could ever wear and he simply could not see children of his age shivering in the cold. Both parents despair that their only child would never take up a career worth the name and may squander their hard earned money on worthless causes. They simply do not know how to make him understand that his generosity may be misplaced and people may befriend him just to fleece him. Their anxiety is not misplaced considering the times we live in. What then is the solution? Suranga has written a beautiful post on how times have changed and it has set me thinking. Affordability has increased and children get what they want. But is it making them laid back and easy going? Will it make them less appreciative of the facilities they get so easily? But then K’s case confuses me. He is different to the normal upper class children who would not spare a thought or cast a second look at their needy counterparts. I for one feel that his parents should encourage him to be kind hearted but should also tell him that working on building a future for himself would help him to work on philanthropic causes in a better way and he could always take up fusion music as a hobby. Unfortunately, parents, in their anxiety, yell at him and he is unable to openly communicate with them. The distance between them keeps growing. I can only hope that with time a middle path may be found and all will end well as in the case of S.

I wonder what makes a child react the way K does. Does it have something to do with lack of communication? Or is it misplaced ambition on the part of parents? I think I am on the verge of learning a new lesson. The rich like the poor also face problems but they are worse of because they have an image to protect and cannot openly discuss the sore points in their lives.


Tys on Ice said...

one of my employee's son is autistic...hes a beautiful intellegent kid who loves to dance...he has this most amaing smile and a look of perpetual wonder about him...he hugs me when he meets me..he doesnt do that normally..makes me feel very special..

i was speaking to his father yesterday when we were going to inspect an installation...the kid is not being send to any school...the schools for challenged kids are expensive here...he is 7 years old, as old as my son.,..hes now planning to send his family back to bombay so that his son can go to school...

what touched me most was when the father said that , last week during the staff party, my son had sought his son out and played with him ... thats when i realized that he didnt normally have anyone to play with...

its a strange place we live in

Ugich Konitari said...

HHG, Thanks for linking to my post.

Sometimes I feel the problem lies with us. We are a kind of sanwich generation. Cant let go of the old style straight and strict education/bringing-up ethos, and cant fully welcome the modern, open, unusual variety in types of learning.

Unless parents have this sensitivity, they will have children who are insensitive to those differently abled. I know people who go into a depression if their child is unable to do maths and science in school.

In this respect, I can say that Open Schooling which is a Ministry of HRD thing in India, operational for almost 20-25 years is a wonderful solution, for those children who wish to study subjects, different from the usual, and pace their studies differently. I have personal experience of this.

The sort of child you mention, who is just not interested in conventional studies will find a solution here; but only if its is introduced as an alternate study borad, and not touted as a last ditch solution for "losers", as parents often think it is.

Having said this, it is never a substitute for time given by parents , to the child.(I see that missing in so many cases, and parents are not even aware that money is not a substitute for personal time and attention.) Even in open schooling, the parent needs to be very aware of the child's learning, friends, and progress, and just paying fees and sending for tuitions and workshops classes is never the answer.

Valerie said...

Child K sounds as if he is striving for affection and acceptance. Maybe what he isn't getting from his parents. Kindness and empathy should be taught in school, just as tolerance and acceptance should be taught.

Dan said...

I was happy to discover your blog today. I was unable to find a contact link. I hope it's OK that I'm contacting you through a public comment. I've developed an educational program for Windows called SpellQuizzer that helps children learn their spelling and vocabulary words without the battle that parents often have getting them to sit down and write them out while the parents dictate to them. The parent enters the child's spelling words into the software making a sound recording of each word. Then the software helps the child practice his or her words. It really helped my children with their weekly spelling lists.

I would love to have SpellQuizzer reviewed in Hip Hop Grandmom. If you are interested in hosting a giveaway of a SpellQuizzer license I'd be happy to supply a free license to the winner. You can learn more about the program at There's a video demo you can watch at and a community site where SpellQuizzer users can share their spelling lists with one another ( Finally, there's a page targeted to homeschooling families at I'd be happy to send you a complimentary license for the software. Please let me know if you are interested.

Thank you very much!

Dan Hite
TedCo Software

Jhona@Parenting4Christians said...

I like reading your post. Dealing with special children is quite difficult. It takes a lot of patience and understanding. This post really is of great help. Great job!

Sraboney said...

Yes, parents need to be more sensitive to their child's needs but the government also has to pitch in by funding more alternative institutes for education etc. ...

We have a friend who has an autistic daughter...At present, she is sent to a special school and they are doing all they can to help her...Their main worry is what will happen to her after they are gone? Developed countries have homes etc. to take care of differently challenged people, India also needs them...

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

I was sad to read about it because during my college years, I have worked with associations that help to train parents of mentally handicapped children. They are called special but the society, at large, treats them with blatant insensitivity. It is just appalling that even educated people dont let their kids mingle with the special children. What they need is acceptance and love, more than laws, subsidies or awareness. As human beings, if we can reach out and express love for these children, we would be able to set the ball rolling in a positive way....I wish,truly wish, this was the case.

Hip Grandma said...

tys:that was a touching account.i am glad parents have identified the problem.with a little effort things shud fall in place.

suranga:I agree. No school- special or otherwise can be a substitute for parental attention and care. very often however parents treat these children as failures and that is painful to the child.

valerie:welcome here.And you are right. K's parents do not give him the kind of affection he requires. Not all children can take parental rebuke in their stride. To be concerned is okay. However this should be moderated with the right kind of guidance and if it is not done in a balanced non judgemental manner it backfires in the case of sensitive children.

Dan:thanks for your input. I will definitely have a look and get back to you.The Spell quizzer seems interesting.

Jhona:Thanks for your words of appreciation and welcome here.

sraboney:The government needs to pitch in at some point of time.In India the tax payers money goes into the pockets of shady politicians and corrupt bureaucrats. It is time it is put to good use.BTW I tried subscribing to your posts via e mail. Didn't come through. What could be the reason?

Swapna:Special children or differently abled children are not treated well by their parents who try to impose their will or resign to fate instead of helping the child.Society needs to grow and mature for such children to be accepted and loved. As things stand, when one sees a mentally or physically challenged child, they heave a sigh of relief and thank god that the child was not their own. Sad isn't it?

Mothers Day Flowers Delivery said...

What an amazing story of Boy S it really should give hope to a lot of parents that have children who are differently able.

dr.antony said...

Having a normal child is a blessing in itself.When I hear parents boasting on their children and achievements, I think, they stand the same chances of getting a subnormal child as well.Not on our merits,but on His grace,I always say.
bringing up children with special needs is a major task and needs expert help.It is not like earlier times.We are able to identify the different categories and make support systems to make them fit enough to survive.
The important thing is identifying them.

Hip Grandma said...

Mothers day:It was to their credit that parents of S understood his need, accepted his condition and helped him when he needed to be helped. very few differently able children are given the right kind of help and that is unfortunate.

dr.antony:You are dead right.It is no credit to have been blessed with a normal child nor is it a discredit be parents of a differently able children. It is purely chance and as you say HIS grace. The only way to handle the situation is to working on helping them lead a near normal life. I have a few more medical mysteries that I cannot understand. I'll be posting about them soon and would look forward to your analysis.

website for mothers said...


I m new to your blog but i like your blog..really nice blog, from my point of view in this matter government should involve more and do some thing for these kids..and also in practically i saw many parents doesnt know how to handle these kids,so they must need training and class so that they can help their kids in home also.. and they encourage them, and also parents also need more patience and afffection..i found a interesting website this is social networking website for mothers,here i recently found some blogs in this same concept,moms also thought like this also welcome to post your blogs in this mothers site so you can meet more moms and get good feedback.. i really love your blog.. very nice.Keep it up..

Anonymous said...

HHG - The retired bank employee who coaches students is no different from trained teachers. A majority of whom still trash students and have no time other than to complete their syllabus.

You may not believe me, but I have lived inside the campus of a prestigious University in India and I know Professors who throw papers on the face of their post-graduate and Phd students. The students have their union,but for fear of inviting the wrath of their professors, they live with the humiliation.

Even a normal student can show signs of abnormality under such conditions.

Hip Grandma said...

anon:what you say is unfortunately true.teachers need to realize that their students are natinal treasures and each one needs to be handled diffeently.