There’s no denying it- having a Deaf child as a hearing parent can be extremely challenging. This isn’t because there is anything wrong with your child, but because we have all been raised in a society that caters to hearing people. It can feel scary, unfamiliar, and nerve-wracking to raise a child who is different than you are. However, in order to make your Deaf child as comfortable as possible, there are several changes you should consider making. Here is a list of the top 3 tips for hearing parents with Deaf children:
To learn ASL language is one of the most significant things you can do if you are a hearing parent of a Deaf child. Communication is the foundation upon which relationships, trusts, and bonds are built. If your child communicates solely or primarily in American Sign Language, it would be incredibly difficult to build a bond with them if you can’t communicate in the same language. Additionally, taking the time to learn ASL shows your child that their deafness won’t be a barrier between the two of you; instead, it can be something that brings you together. If you are looking for ASL resources, an ASL dictionary and the ASLdeafined app can both be extremely helpful.
Become familiar with Deaf culture
In addition to learning to speak the same language as your child, you need to understand the culture that they will grow up in. Many parents find it difficult to grasp the concept of a Deaf culture because they assume that their child’s culture is formed in their household and family environment. This is not entirely the case. The reality is that your child experiences the world differently than you do. They should not only have access to a community of people that understands what they go through, but they should also have parents that are willing to do all they can to fully understand their child.
Patience is crucial if you are a hearing parent of a Deaf child. It can be easy to become frustrated when you can’t communicate with someone- or when you need to make many accommodations to do so. However, remember that your child is going through the exact same thing. They need you to be patient and loving towards them in order to show them that they are not a burden. Patience can make an immense difference in even the most difficult parent-child relationships.
A Deaf child living in a society that caters to hearing people is already an isolating experience. Don’t contribute to your child’s feeling of loneliness! Instead, make some simple changes that can have a positive impact on your child’s life. These tips won’t take away the feelings of fear or confusion you may experience as a hearing parent raising a Deaf child. However, it will make both your journey and your child’s more enjoyable. Instead of building boundaries, these tips will teach you how to embrace your child with open arms, love them unconditionally, and be a better parent.