Tuesday, August 10, 2004

MS & Parenting

In a new book, The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting, Laurence Steinberg, PhD offers the 10 Commandments of Good Parenting


#3 Be involved in your child's life

“… means sacrificing what you want to do for what your child needs to do. Be there mentally as well as physically."


When this all began, Patti and I read Mainstay by Maggie Strong which chronicled their family’s struggle living with MS. Their admitted errors in parenting (in retrospect) by allowing MS to drive the family agenda frightened us.


We often quipped we could never find any advice on what to do, just what had failed for others. Aware of ideas that had failed we figured we could at least work out a plan to swim upstream rather than downstream. The advice derived from Mainstay was that the needs of the child MUST be the focus of the family not MS.


I guess it’s somewhat reassuring 16 years later to find our improvised philosophy on ‘parenting with MS’ to be confirmed by social science research.


That may sound inspirationally simple and logical but required great sacrifice on Patti’s part to put the fight of her life in the back ground.


MS denied her the conventional skills of parenting. Yet through sacrifice she successfully participated in raising a daughter to the age of 16 (who is every bit a normal 16 year old.


Physically and mentally disabled and fatigued with MS Patti is in a transition fading out of our daily lives. Her example of “…sacrificing what you want to do for what your child needs to do. Be there mentally as well as physically…”is the kind of parenting that not only can NEVER FADE but too many children never have.

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