by Fatima Kazee, fulltime mum to Imaad (7), Zayn(5) and Zahreen (3), part-time wife to fisherman husband Aadil. She’s addicted to sneakers anything chocolatey & is an invaluable part of the Jozikids and Kznkids team.
I was recently told by a professional kids’ psychologist that my son may have something called tactile defensiveness. What this means is that he dislikes certain textures and feelings against his skin and on him. The reason I went to a psychologist is because he refuses to eat certain foods, has a problem with the labels on his clothes and also doesn’t like getting dirty (which 6 year old doesn’t like that!)
She suggested I take him to see an occupational therapist that will help his ‘condition’. So my question here is: Is all this necessary? How come there weren’t all these things when I was growing up? Or did our parents just let us be and grow out of stuff like that?
Are we overdoing the labelling?
I have met many a parent who shared stories of their kid having some or other issue, be it low concentration, emotional developmental problems, or muscle tone problems (what is that?). It’s usually something or the other. Or else it is allergies to the strangest things, like soap and good wholesome food (seriously?)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure these things all exist and there are qualified individuals that can help with them. I guess it could all relate to the foods we eat and the preservatives in them as well as the lifestyles we lead. And I’m sure that there are kids that have serious problems to deal with. But what happens to kids that have no access to the help that they require? Kids who live their whole lives not knowing that they actually had some or other condition and manage to live their lives quite fine?
This brought me to thinking about whether we just feel the need to label everything into a disorder and find a solution to it. Not a solution that’s logical and simple and costs nothing but one where we have to spend time and money to feel that we’re actually doing something to correct the condition.
Maybe we have something to do with it
I also realised that perhaps my being pedantic and OCD (yes, I have that condition!) may have had something to do with it. I didn’t, for example, allow my kids to eat by themselves or explore the garden for fear of the mess and having to clean it up. Since they never touched their food on their own and experienced the different textures, maybe this made them dislike it when they eventually did. Maybe all they need is to simply be left to discover things for themselves.
Where to from here?
This of course solely relates to my situation and the condition I find my son in. Does all this affect kids in the long run? Will they grow up to be pedantic like me or will they be well-rounded individuals, even without any medical/therapeutic intervention? Should I just change my mothering habits and skills?
I have not yet decided what to do but I have noticed a change in my son since I’ve lightened up and given him space to just be. What do you think?