Independence is a valuable thing. I am extremely happy to have maintained my independence despite using a wheelchair. That doesn’t mean I don’t get help every now and then, but 99% of the time I am living my own independent life. This leads to my fourth tip for parents who want their children to live their best lives:
Tip #4: Keep the enabling to a minimum
I know kids and adults without physical disabilities that are extremely dependent on their parents for everything from laundry to money to housing to approval. There’s a certain age where a kid really needs to grow-up — disability or not. Kids without disorders have no excuse to be so dependent. Toss in a disability and you’ve got a recipe for a self-fulfilling disaster. Using a disability as an excuse to be dependent is an extremely unfortunate and in many cases “life ruining” thing when the disability isn’t serious enough to actually warrant dependence or somebody else.
For me, there came a point when doing the laundry, going grocery shopping, getting my own place, and having my own job became a source of pride, not a hassle. Even today I prefer to do my own laundry, shopping, and cleaning even when I have people offering left and right.
I’m sure it’s tough not to want to make your kids comfortable, but I really can’t stress enough how my feeling of self worth comes from having independence. I am not uncomfortable doing life’s chores. It’s great exercise for me. People seem amazed that I do the things I do by myself. That amazement is also a source of motivation for me to go above and beyond expectations.
Challenge yourself to let your kid do something you might otherwise want to do for them. If it’s not something that will put them in physical danger, then I say let them do it!