Having a Disabled Parent

Posted on February 28th, 2012

Unusually I spent an evening in front of the television after work. Although, I had little choice of what to watch I enjoyed Gok Wan and Daddy Day Care last week.  Gok focused his attention on young children caring for a parent with a disability and how this impacts on their lives.  We volunteer with young carers so we are aware that caring for a disabled parent can have an impact on their childhood in numerous ways.  These children find education and peer relationships difficult to maintain whilst cleaning the house, cooking or administering medication. It was good to see that a parent was encouraged to offer themselves and their children some free time to relax and enjoy simple activities such as going to the park. The activities provided to support young carers are under attack from the cuts in funding which means weekend and holiday activities are lost. For the individual child it means the disappearance of something as simple as baking a cake with other children without being interrupted by their caring responsibilities.

Switching television programmes to Daddy Day Care it was interesting to see the views of a father with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and his desire to fit so much fun and excitement into the lives of his children and those at the nursery because of his progressive illness. The father worked long hours to provide for his family but was missing out on the time to be a parent with boundaries and routine. The father believed that his MS would affect him being a parent in the future but had not realised that it was impacting on his parenting in the present.  The father wanted excitement and a fast pace for himself and the children in the nursery.  The children clearly enjoy themselves in the energetic environment but they also need quiet containment.

The two programmes highlighted the overt and subtle impact of disability on parenting and how children experience a parent’s disability on a daily basis. The programmes together were thought provoking and would benefit the general public and professionals to have an insight to the lives of children with a parent with a disability.

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