Slate has a new parenting advice blog. In a recent post, a mother wonders…
“Should I Tell My Daughter About Her Dyslexia?”
She explains “I don’t want her to feel different, but does she have the right to know why she struggles where others don’t?”
Obviously, the question enraged me. But what enrages me, even more, is that it’s 2019, and parents are still wondering whether to treat their children as human beings.
So, as a person with very little patience for this kind of bullshit (my patience goes exactly where it should–to children, all of them, any age, all the time) I want the opportunity to answer it my way.
LADY, OH MY GOD, WHAT THE FUCK? Should I tell my daughter she has dyslexia?? Does she have the right to know?? First, fuck you. Second, she already knows. Your daughter knows she has Dyslexia, she just doesn’t know what it’s called because you are holding her hostage from her own reality. She is eight years old! Her problem isn’t that she has learning disabilities; her problem is you.
PARENTS! PLEASE, CAN I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION! Your children are human beings. You are afraid to fuck them up so you withhold the truth of who they are from them, and you withhold the truth of the world. You want them to continue being wholesome, innocent creatures, and you’re afraid that by telling them the truth you will corrupt them. The truth doesn’t corrupt them. Lying corrupts them. By not telling them what’s going on, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY KNOW SOMETHING IS GOING ON, you are lying to them.
We protect our children, not by hiding the world from them, but by teaching them how to handle each hardship the world hands us. You want to raise healthy, strong, vibrant children and you want them to one day leave the bubble you have created for them and thrive, but for some reason, you don’t want to teach them how to face adversity and grow. You say you’re parenting, you insist that you’re a good parent, but parenting is teaching your children life-skills. It’s showing your children who they are, and who the world is, and then modeling for them how to manage these truths. Parenting is teaching your children to live independently in this world without you.
So please, I beg of you, do not coddle your children in this way. Do not hold them hostage to the world by keeping who they are from them. My entire life I was tested. Those results were withheld from me, and when I asked what was wrong with me, I was told I was a “slow learner,” and to this day, in my 40’s, I have trouble believing anything else. But I am not a “slow learner.” No one is a “slow learner.” The paradigm that exists to teach children is a one-size-fits-all model, and I am not “all.” I am me, and I learn through experience, not by sitting in a chair and listening to a teacher who is clearly bored by having to recite the same shit every day.
What was wrong with me was that I had a panic disorder, and I didn’t learn that fact until I was 25 years old. If at 8 years old, someone had told me what was wrong with me and had helped me learn how to manage it, I would not have suffered unnecessarily for a majority of my life.
So, my eight-year-old self is begging all of you to be honest with your kids. Tell them who they are, because they already know, they just don’t know what it’s called.
(here’s the original post from SLATE: https://slate.com/human-interest/2019/05/when-to-tell-children-about-disability-care-and-feeding.html)