We took a break over the summer from physical therapy. At our first session back, the therapist brought up a concern she had for my son: He was still using “W” sitting as his primary sitting position.
This means he sits on his knees but his legs tend to splay out a bit—thus making a W shape. She had some serious concerns about what that might be doing to his musculoskeletal system. She told me that we really need to work on finding him a different way of sitting.
So, here’s my beef with that. Based on an earlier recommendation, we worked so long to teach him how to sit in the W position. Like, hours and hours of teaching him to get from a crawling position to a sitting position. I still have a video on my phone of the first time he did it. How proud we were of him. And how proud he was of himself.
And now it’s wrong?
I get really concerned about the messages we, including myself, send my son about his body. That it’s never good enough. That it’s always in need of repair and improvement. It makes me wonder whether we’re trying to make him the best him he can be, or whether the goals are unattainable carrots that require the use of the stick.
I am now focusing on body positivity for my son. As he grows, it’s important for him not to feel resentful of his body. I want him to appreciate his body for its differences while also trying to grow and develop as neurotypical children are encouraged to do.
I don’t mind telling him he needs to grow. But I don’t feel good about telling him that something that took him forever to do is now not right. I feel like that sends the wrong kind of message about his growth and development.
As my son grows up, I’m just as worried about his emotional well-being as I am his physical well-being. It’s important to me for him to grow up being proud of who he is, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and yes, even physically.
All of that starts by me being more strategic about the messages we send him. Family Support has lots of relevant information and supports.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.