Because of their strong desire to be accepted by others, children who have learning and cognitive disabilities can be gullible and easily taken advantage of. Your child needs to know that she can depend on you as a friend, even when others may forsake her. So be available as a friend to your child. You must also remain keenly aware of where and with whom your child spends her time. This type of child can easily be influenced to shoplift when shopping with unsavory friends, or participate in countless other mischievous activities youth can be influenced to engage in. Inform your child about disreputable activities such as shoplifting, vandalism, bullying and drug use. Even though your child is a Muslim, she still desires acceptance by her peers and can be led to commit unsavory acts.
Acting out Feelings
Your child may sometimes act out aggressively exhibiting behaviors such as throwing tantrums or shouting rudely when expressing her displeasure. This type of hostile behavior can be attributed to your child’s limited verbal abilities. She may be unable to express her feelings appropriately with words so she acts out her frustrations. Teaching your child the words she needs to describe how she feels is critical if you want to minimize emotional outbursts. It allows her to communicate with words instead of undesirable behavior. Teach emotion words and phrases such as, “I feel angry, hurt, sad, happy, disappointed, jealous, mad, excited etc.” The more your child can verbally express her feelings, the less she will have a need to act out her feelings in order to be understood.
Focus on Strengths
Focus on your child’s abilities rather than weaknesses. Children who are constantly bombarded with corrections, complaints, and criticism develop hostilities that can result in combative, defensive, and resistant behaviors.
Take mental note or written notes of what your child enjoys doing and is capable of doing. When you see her involved in these activities, compliment her endeavors. Compliments boost her self esteem which gives her the desire to cooperate. When praising, don’t ruin it by following up with a negative. “I see you’re texting your friends. You seem to like text messaging. You spelled school wrong it’s s-c-h . . . .” Leave a compliment a compliment. Also, be sure to involve your child in activities in which she can succeed. Find activities that she enjoys that aren’t competitive. Someone else‘s winning is at the cost of your child losing . . . often repeatedly. Your child might be heard saying, “I never win.” The fact is, she’s probably correct. This can cause her to begin to doubt herself and her abilities. This is why it’s a good idea to get her engaged in non-competitive activities. Examples of such interests can be shooting hoops free style, hiking, fishing, bird watching, rock collecting, shell collecting, swimming, scrapbook making, roller skating, ice skating, assembling puzzles, beading jewelry, creating crafts, sewing, gardening, T-shirt printing, T-shirt tie dying, designing tissue paper flowers, crocheting, macramé, knitting, and much more. You can look up crafts and hobbies on-line or visit the library for books on leisure activities.
More excerpts continued, insha'Allah
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