Letter to grandparents

Challenging Prejudices: Educating with Love and High Expectations

Photo from Pixabay

Dear grandparents,

First, she wanted to congratulate you on the wonderful granddaughter you have, she is not only a beautiful girl but also fun and friendly.

I know that with her granddaughter there are many doubts and uncertainties about her development, her future, and her abilities. Faced with all these questions, there is no shortage of those who think that that third chromosome in your genetic map has already written, to a large extent, what your future will be, how far you can go, what you can do (especially what you CANNOT do) and therefore what you can do. The most important thing for her is “to be happy,” as if happiness were the only vital goal achievable in people with Down syndrome and as if happiness were somehow incompatible with the ability to write, read, and learn in general. As if the effort, the desire to improve, and the acquisition of increasingly greater knowledge and skills that should characterize the development of every child were limited to “normal” children and also interfered with happiness.

Fortunately, it is impossible to know who her granddaughter will be when she is an adult, we cannot even guess who she will be when she is 10 years old or when she is five years old, and there is not much left for her to reach them. We do know, however, that who she becomes and how she behaves depends, still, to a large extent on how we treat her in these vital years of her childhood.

Her granddaughter, like any other three-year-old girl, is a master at manipulating adults, she is a relentless seductress who knows how to demand, sometimes explicitly and sometimes very subtly, what she wants, when she wants it and how she wants it wants.

She is not bad at all, she is three years old, and she is part of the rules of the game of growing up. As soon as children discover that there are rules in the world and especially in their homes, they will try to impose their own. Why obey if I can command?

The disobedience of children to the rules of their parents and grandparents and their attempts to command at such an early age are the means that nature has established so that they learn, from those of us who love them most, that there is a hierarchy of authority, that the rules must have as their objective the personal good and the common good, and cannot have as their only justification “because I want to”, “because I feel like it” or, so common in children, “so that you don’t forget that here, I command”.

If children do not learn all this at home, they will suffer the unpleasant experience of having to learn it from people who, no matter how much they love them, will never do it as much or as well as their family.

To think that at only three years old a girl “does not know”, that it is “too soon”, that “nothing happens” and allowing her to do what she wants, not setting limits and always complying with her holy will implies ignorance of children’s stages of development and, above all, demonstrates a low regard for their intellectual abilities.

I assure you that any three-year-old child, anyone, has more than enough tools to impose himself on adults, get them to obey him under the threat – which they always carry out – of punishing us with a tantrum of incredible proportions, and exhausting our patience with his seemingly infinite stubbornness.

When a “normal” child manages to subdue his elders, manages to dominate his parents or grandparents and gets them to obey him, he will grow up to become a child, and later an adult, quite unpleasant, imposing, with difficulty establishing relationships in which He or she does not exercise control. In short, someone who is better not to have around.

If we add to this type of personality, not the condition of trisomy 21, but all the prejudices that accompany it, we are preparing for a resounding personal failure in all areas of development.

Unfortunately, the overprotection and “pity” that many children with Down syndrome cause in many adults causes some children and young people with Down syndrome to become poorly educated, difficult to deal with and even unpleasant people. This type of personality limits their access to normal schooling, learning to read, write and mathematics, and the ability to relate to others much more than the third chromosome. Really, the lack of education or the wrong education is the real brake on them being happy. They always live tied to their whims, to the immediacy of their desires, which makes them selfish people, insensitive to the needs of others, especially those of their parents, who never cease to keep them happy by giving in to all their absurd demands.

For these reasons, it is essential that they understand that their granddaughter does understand everything. At three years old, I assure you, she is already imposing herself with full knowledge of what objectives she seeks and how to achieve them. She understands the rules, she understands the consequences, and she can and should understand that there are times when we cannot do what we want, or when we feel like it. She must understand that we adults are the ones who set the rules, since they are always based on seeking the best for her.

I am sure that others, mothers of schoolmates, neighbors, even teachers, will not hesitate to grant their granddaughter any whim for the mere fact that she has features that reveal that she has an extra chromosome and will greatly hinder the educational work of their children parents. It always happens. For this reason, it is even more important that at home, her family has the highest expectations and strives to ensure that she continues to be the beautiful, friendly and fun girl that she is today, but that she is also educated, knows the hierarchy of authority and knows, despite themselves but for their own good, that grandparents are neither those who obey nor those who spoil their grandchildren.

Receive a loving hug,