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Surviving our teenage years means that we have gotten past the trivial, mundane, and peer pressure that wants to trap us in an invisible box, stamped on the outside is NORMAL. Invisible barriers will forever exist in our society. Those of us who are challenged to “re-define” normal can join together as one voice saying, “There is no such thing as NORMAL“.

Society will look at us and scoff, “Yes, there is, Normal is just like me!” Bullshit! I say. Inside each of our minds we can define our normal - but who says that we should use this same definition to compare ourselves to others?  

Living with the diagnosis of tuberous sclerosis (TS) means that my son will never find himself under pressure to force himself into that invisible box. For that I am grateful. Unfortunately, symptoms of TS cause him to feel segregated, shunned, and outcast from so called “normal” teens.  

As a parent, how do I tell him the opinion of his peers doesn’t matter? Kids never listen to their parents. I want to find those that mock him to provide them a nice short little life lesson. Logically, I know this is not an option. When my son comes home from school reporting he had a seizure at school, I wonder how that made him feel to have peers witness his lack of control. As a parent, I imagine the horrific scars created deep within his soul because of damn TS.  

From the day he was born, his father and I have done nothing but tell him how perfect he is, how much we love him, and how we believe that he can accomplish any goal he sets for himself. Was that enough? Will his peers eat away at this truth for him? Will others obtain a power over my son to influence his actions? Will they figure out that his innocence makes him gullible and use this to their advantage.

Everyone has a difficult time in high school. Maybe, the exception is the popular football player’s and cheerleaders, but for the most part, we all have our own inner struggles -  dealing with them we all find ways to hide our inadequacies.  Fear is a great motivator. Living in fear that others are normal, and we aren’t helps further our resolve to make ourselves fit into that invisible box.  

Parental instincts make me want to hover around my son to protect, guide, and admire him as he begins his awkward journey into his teen years. Being an intelligent woman, at least I like to think so, this is not an option. My powers end at the front door, car door, or any threshold he crosses that is unacceptable for me to follow.  I can only hope and pray that my words echo in his mind. This may give him strength and confidence at a critical moment. If so, then I have done my job.  

If not, he knows I love him for than life itself, and we will move forward. I have repeatedly told him, “There is nothing you can do to make me stop loving you!” If this single statement is all he remembers, I have faith that he will be OK. With this, he can define his own “normal“.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote Oct 30, 2008
    • Admittedly, i am not the parent of a child who is dealing with an issue similar to your son but reading your post caused me to remember something that my father used to advise me to do when kids were being unkind...“Nice them to death,” he would say.

      Perhaps a good place to start might be a lesson about how people who don’t understand something will sometimes make a joke of it in order to deal with it.  Most teasing is wrought of ignorance.  Perhaps your son’s purpose is to teach kindness and understanding to those who are not showing kindness and understanding to him.  Constantly reinforce his self-worth, impress upon him that everyone has something in their life that they view as a challenge...whether it is as simple as freckles or as serious as parents who are addicts, siblings who are mean to them, illness, etc.  Perhaps an “in-your-face” approach would be the way to go.

      I have always taught my children that it is not their place to judge others and that it is never okay to say or do something that would cause someone to feel badly and the best thing you can give a person is ACCEPTANCE.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Adbennett wrote Oct 30, 2008
    • Great advice!  “in-your-face” is a great way to hand peers. But my son is too anxious and cautious to be (in-your-face). I will still encourage him to do so. I want to thank you for being a responsible parent and teaching your children acceptance. If only more parents did the same. It drives me crazy to see parents who let their kids point, stare, and whisper about my son. Walking up to us and asking is much more dignified than whispers and jeers.  

      Thanks again.

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