The Struggle to Stop Viewing Our Children Through Clinical Eyes

It’s so easy for us parents to become lost in thinking about how our children compare with their same aged peers. From an early age, children at risk for developmental delays/disabilities are tested, categorized, and monitored. There are some good reasons for doing this such as identifying and tracking areas that may need support. But, there are also some potentially negative outcomes as well.

While seeing our children constantly evaluated and measured by medical and educational professionals, we can easily become accustomed to viewing our children through the same clinical and comparative lenses. We often become stuck looking at what isn’t working for our child instead of appreciating and nurturing what is. It’s hard for parents to switch from achievement based goals and hearing what needs to be done to support our child’s development, to simply being with him/her without these thoughts.

Over time Maya’s father and I have focused on setting boundaries that help us to define when and where we will approach Maya with “clinical” eyes and “critical” thinking. Maintaining these boundaries are harder some days than others. However, this strategy has helped us move further away from the tendency to persistently evaluate Maya. Now I don’t dwell too long or intensely on what she can’t do or what she may or may not do later. I try to leave the critical thinking and clinical type of analyses solely for planning her therapy schedule. The rest of the time I focus on enjoying and recognizing the spunky, sensitive, determined and insightful person Maya has become.



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