Parenting Special Needs: Find a Mutual Passion: 4-7-11

Bonding and Passion: Follow Their Bread Crumbs. I was thinking about how I discovered the key to managing a young defiant special needs child. For many many years our daughter was resistant to most activities outside the home except shopping. She loved the mall. At 2 years old she could go through the racks of any department or chain store like a fifteen year old valley girl. I felt this was genetic. My husband’s genes.

My sisters-in-law are great shoppers. Not I. But once my daughter and I stepped out of the house, into the car, on the way to the Mall, we were of one mind: shopping, her shopping. She taught me as early as age 2, 3, 4 years old, the joys and sorrows of shopping.

Not to say that she didn’t melt down on escalators or over stuffed animals. She did. I often thought someone would arrest me as I openly struggled to contain her rageful outbursts when, after three hours of  shopping, she was told, it was time to go. But no one ever did. You know, sometimes I wasn’t sure what I wished for more: arrest or remaining responsible for the raging one.

We bonded around picking out gifts for cousins, acquaintances, and friends’ dogs. This child who was struggling with receptive and expressive language, anxiety, and a host of other challenges, had no difficulty selecting a dress for me. Or a gift for her many aunties. Her visually acuity and color sense were off the charts.

At the mall, we shared a passion: my love for her and her love for shopping. She loved and to this day, still does, clothes, brand names, and the sights and sounds of chain stores and food courts.

Lesson Here: Whatever their passion, join it. Horses and clothes, rats and guinea pigs, pet stores at home and abroad.  We did it all. And of course, humor. Where ever we wander, to this day, we find laughter, my passion.

©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., LC.S.W.

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