Being a disabled teenager is hard. You have all the usual worries about fitting in, making friends and worrying about the future, but you times the severity of those feelings by about a 1000%.
Everything is so bloody difficult and a lot of the time, there is no road map.
That is why it is easy to turn to your parents for support.
And you should do that.
Your parents have been there from the start and they will know better than most what you have been through.
The bond been a parent and their disabled child will always be strong and you will always feel immense gratitude for everything that they have done/do.
Here’s the problem though…
You’re a disabled teenager now, not a child anymore and that means both you and your parents need to adapt.
It Is Time To Start Talking
As a disabled teenager, at some point, you will begin to think, “my parents aren’t listening.”
And this may well be true…
There will be new things that you want to try and things that your friends are doing, which you are not.
Here is the thing though, your parents probably haven’t caught up to the fact that you indeed a teenager.
So to them, you might still be a kid.
That’s normal for parents to think that way about their teenagers though, right?
Well yes it is.
But in the case of the average disabled teenager, your parents probably have a whole list of hang ups that they’ve never dared share with you.
That is why it is time to start talking.
So how do you go about starting those conversations?
Breaking Things Down
Starting those conversations with your parents or your disabled teenager is often a process of breaking things down.
This is because the big things are often the things that you think about first.
How are you/they going to find a job?
How they/you going to have relationship?
You both have to remember that these are end points and that you have to smaller.
Do you want to go out for a drink for example?
If that’s goal, sit down and talk about things like:
- How are you going to get there?
- How are going to get into the venue?
- What about going to the toilet?
Answering these questions can help set both of your minds at rest and make things seem more possible.
For some ideas about answering these questions, give this a read: https://ethosdisability.com/blog/wheelchairs/top-tips-for-wheelchair-pub-crawls-version-2/
Why Talking Might Not Work?
Those conversations might not work for any number of reasons.
But sometimes for the average disabled teenager, it can be for one very important reason for this.
Your parents can only see your limitations and not your potential.
Your parents are so used to doing things for you, and filling in what they see as those gaps that they cannot see a way you can.
As we have previously discussed, it is often the case that learning new things is just a process of breaking things down.
It might you need something to aid you such as Nimble or a gripping aid.
It might simply be that you just need to learn something new.
That is why, as hard as it might be to do, you need to stop listening to your parents.
It is time to start thinking about what YOU really want and going after it. The world is now full of inspiring disabled people who succeed in many walks of life.
Here are a few examples:
Emily Yates – Emily is an award winning travel writer who has been and continues to hop all around the globe – https://www.emilyroseyates.co.uk/
Aaron ‘Wheelz’ Fotheringham – Aaron is extreme wheelchair athlete who has appeared in Nitro Circus.
Liam Bairstow – Liam is better known as Alex from Coronation Street. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR581PpKueU
Be Brave, Be Bold
It is easy to sit here and say, “be brave, be bold.
But you have to be.
Challenge yourself and be daring, despite what your parents say and push those boundaries.
What seems impossible is often just a matter of proper planning and forethought.
Take getting on a plane for example..
Getting on a plane as a disabled passenger can be simpler than for average joe.
Because, you can get someone to help you through the airport including, pushing you, carrying bags and guiding you the right way.
Also, YOU DO NOT NEED TO BOOK IN ADVANCE TO TRAVEL.
For more tips, see our guide for solo travellers.
So The Next Time…
So the next time that you hear, “no you can’t do that.”
“I don’t think that is such a good idea.”
It is time to throw the challenge down and realise that your parents are not always right.