Misunderstood Confused Helpless. These 3 words describe men who happen to be parents of children with special needs. Let me break it down for women who didn’t get it. But for that we will need to visit a Man’s mind. How it functions? How it is conditioned to behave? How can it be made to break behavioral patterns?
How does the brain of Men function?
A Man’s mind is hardwired to be a solution finder. It’s evolved since Stone age to believe that his job is protection and provision. For him, every problem presented to him deserves a solution that he is asked to provide. That’s why they make good employees in corporate world but extremely poor listeners to problems(I see the women nodding!).We see a problem, we need to solve it. Men also tend to be poor at multitasking as they compartmentalize their work space and family space. Women see that as insensitivity when men go about their work irrespective of problems at home but truly put it is Nature’s gift to Men (it’s scientifically proven and not figment of my imagination to defend our folk)
What happens when a man sees a problem he cannot solve or has no near term solution in sight. What if the problem relates to someone he really loves and cares for and he is helpless in the situation. There is no prescribed pattern of reaction and His mind moves away in search of another problem to solve. Providing a solution often is critical to his Self worth and esteem.
And that explains our behaviour while dealing with our children with special needs. We hide ourselves in our work, behind a busy schedule , feeding our need for self worth in a world of problems that are solvable leaving the child to be managed by the more empathetic women. That is the reason we are misunderstood by women who feel we are not taking equal responsibility.
A Mans mind is conditioned by Societal expectations
When a small boy falls, everyone around him will admonish him for crying. Be brave …you are a boy and Boys don’t cry. This expectation of behaving “strong” makes men hide true felt emotions and pent up emotions or hurt do not get a release. This exhibits in behaviours that are often misunderstood like staying aloof, snapping at trivial things
Now imagine their kid is proclaimed “special”. Their heart breaks into a zillion pieces but we are not used to a breakdown scene. We are made of sterner stuff. aren’t we? That’s not true. We also need to cry and often do so in silence. The women wail and we give them comfort but no one allows the father to vent out. This volcano builds inside and often snaps out in form of anger. We need friends around us who are non-judgemental to allow us the comfort to express the helplessness in our heads. I have often given in to the arms of my friends and the breakthroughs were enough to give me renewed courage to carry on. Only when we have grieved can we move on to the next stage of acceptance.
The Grand Problem
Grand parents are another league of complexity. They are in a stage where they wanted to play with grandchildren and a unique situation like this makes them confused. Granddads who have not learnt to deal with their own emotions maturely are trying to comfort a whole family, their children , their wife, grandparents of their son/daughter’s spouse. Often they end up distancing themselves or blaming others for this situation.
How to break the pattern?
Men need to be shown a mirror sometimes that their behaviour can be destructive if not corrected earlier but this should be done only by people they trust and in a very non judgemental manner. Confronting them in public only brings out a reaction and a defensive approach. A heart to heart talk done privately usually brings sense. Also allowing a slow introspection time post highlighting the problem behavior to them brings sanity. Don’t expect turnarounds in a day. They have to mull over it to understand how deep rooted it is. But once the belief system inside changes the behaviour outside is modified dramatically. Asking God for strength brings wisdom. Sitting and talking out a way ahead brings clarity back to rebuild lives. There is nothing Men can not solve if guided constructively. That’s why we were born Men.
Hi , Welcome to Yes! i am Special, India's 1st dedicated blog to help "Parents" of Children with Special Needs. I'm Rohan, an experienced Pharma Professional and father to God's most special Kid - Aaron. He has an undiagnosed muscular condition that till date hasn't allowed him to sit walk or talk. He inspired me to start this blog so that I can help other Parents in need of guidance in their Journey to manage their special children. In this blog I write to help parents improve their relationships that has been impacted while taking care of their child with special needs. I help them rebuild their social circle, overcome their fears and challenges in daily life and in the process bring some encouragement and fun back in their lives. You can read more about me at the Home page - About us SectionRead more about me!