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  • How should I behave toward Down nephew?

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    Old 08-04-2005, 02:28 PM   #1
    lovingauntie
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    How should I behave toward Down nephew?

    I am new to this board, but I really want some input on how to behave toward my sister-in-law and her son who was born in April with DS. My husband and I have both been going through job changes and we live out of state so we have yet to meet the baby, which I wish was different with all my heart. We are hoping to make a visit in September which brings me to my initial question. The reason I ask is because my husband (my sister-in-law's brother) and I have two very healthy, highly verbal and beautiful little girls. Since our baby nephew was born, phone and e-mail conversation has been limited and I feel like I don't really know what to say when we do talk. Even though I have yet to see him in person, I love this baby and want to do what I can for the family, but my optimistic support seems to be resented. I guess I can understand; sometimes I feel guilty that my own children are so "perfect" (I hate that term, but don't know what else to use). So, any imput you can give me on how to approach this situation, on the phone and in person would be greatly appreciated. I don't want to be a pollyanna or push my sister-in-law away and I know alot of this is just a matter of her coming to terms and learning what "normal" for her family is going to be, so I am just looking for ideas on what are the right things to say and how to say them. Thanks

     
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    Old 08-04-2005, 08:57 PM   #2
    Karen W.
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    Re: How should I behave toward Down nephew?

    Hi,
    You know when you get there and you see this baby, you'll see how cute he is and things will all fall into place. You may have to feel how out how they are handling the shock of it all. I have to say, when my son was born, he only had a 40% chance of surving, My first goal was to do all I could do for him so he would make it, once we achieved that, then we had to deal with the DS. You always have hopes and dreams that your baby is going to have a great and successfull life, you don't realize it but those dreams are there even before the baby is born, suddenly you get hit with this news that those dreams your had are not going to happen and you realize that you have allot to learn. I admitt I did cry off and on, I felt that this child is so beautifull and it was not fair that he had to have this. My advice is take an interest in his progess, ask how his health is and how are they doing with all of it. Don't feel bad that your kids are healthy and fine, just being a good friend is what they need. My son is now 19 and he is such a riot. He is a specail gift to me and he's taught me allot about life. He see's the good in people,no matter who they are. He makes people laugh and smile on a daily basis, he sings off key and loves to dance, he gives the best hugs you ever had and my day would not be complete without him.He's a ray of sunshine and I would not have him any other way. Go there with an open heart, you'll be just fine.
    Karen

     
    Old 08-06-2005, 09:20 AM   #3
    lovingauntie
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    Re: How should I behave toward Down nephew?

    Thank you! I really want to do what I can for him and the family - they are just a little resistant at this time...but we will all learn how to deal. I have high hopes for this baby - I do not think he deserves to be "typecast", but given a chance to prove what he can do, although expressing this to my sister in law is hard. She really doesn't want to hear it from me. Anyway, it's great to have place to talk about it - again, thanks so much!

     
    Old 08-13-2005, 10:13 PM   #4
    Locket25
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    Re: How should I behave toward Down nephew?

    Your Nephew is a God given child so treat the little guy as nothing more/nothing less just a precious life and realise nobody wants anyone to be condescending towards anything they have or have not and in reality different people have more than others in different ways so who is to say what is normal or perfect in God's creation.
    Kay

     
    Old 08-16-2005, 08:05 AM   #5
    Danielmom
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    Re: How should I behave toward Down nephew?

    The most important thing is that he is a newborn, most probably (unless he is really sick) he will be doing everything your daughters did when they were just born, so the best thing you could do is tell her how beautiful he is, and offer your help babysitting, cleaning, picking up or anything they need. Treat them the same way you would have if the baby would have been born without down syndrome. This is what I love about my family, they expect everything that they would have expected from my son, they think of the down syndrome second and the baby first.

     
    Old 09-05-2005, 07:07 PM   #6
    cookie51
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    Re: How should I behave toward Down nephew?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lovingauntie
    I am new to this board, but I really want some input on how to behave toward my sister-in-law and her son who was born in April with DS. My husband and I have both been going through job changes and we live out of state so we have yet to meet the baby, which I wish was different with all my heart. We are hoping to make a visit in September which brings me to my initial question. The reason I ask is because my husband (my sister-in-law's brother) and I have two very healthy, highly verbal and beautiful little girls. Since our baby nephew was born, phone and e-mail conversation has been limited and I feel like I don't really know what to say when we do talk. Even though I have yet to see him in person, I love this baby and want to do what I can for the family, but my optimistic support seems to be resented. I guess I can understand; sometimes I feel guilty that my own children are so "perfect" (I hate that term, but don't know what else to use). So, any imput you can give me on how to approach this situation, on the phone and in person would be greatly appreciated. I don't want to be a pollyanna or push my sister-in-law away and I know alot of this is just a matter of her coming to terms and learning what "normal" for her family is going to be, so I am just looking for ideas on what are the right things to say and how to say them. Thanks
    Hi Auntie,
    My nephew has ds, he is 16, at first it was a shock, but we could not love him any more if we tried. I am sure his mother is having a hard time dealing with the ds, but believe me I think the best thing you can do is support his mother and be as normal as possible. Our society can be very judgemental, but believe me, this is from my sister who has dealt with this for 16 years, the worse thing is when people act like the child isnot perfect and people do not treat him the same. Try to be as supportive, and dont act like the baby is different and offer any help you can. Children with ds, are the most loving giving people on this earth. They are Gods gift, and we should all treat them as such. As I tell my sister, my nephew is the closest thing to God I have ever been by, he is pure, and God chose her to be his mother to love and care for her special angel. Congradulate them on their beautiful son and treat him as you would any other child. Please support them and show them love.
    God Bless
    cookie

     
    Old 09-21-2005, 07:57 PM   #7
    Drafter
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    Re: How should I behave toward Down nephew?

    Sounds to me as if your problem will probably not be with the child, but with the parents.

    Everyone's right above, a baby is a baby. I don't think you will have any problems with the nephew -- you are an experienced mom and it will come naturally.

    How to deal with the parents is going to be difficult. Also as said above, they are grieving for the 'perfect' baby they didn't have, and yes I am sure, are deeply resentful that you have 2 normal children. When I was pregnant with Jessie (she is my 3rd child), I was just POSITIVE nothing could go wrong. My first 2 children were both born with devistating, yet unrelated problems, each of their births was a nightmare, and it just couldn't happen to us again. Well, it did, in spades, and I was very angry for quite a while afterwards. I had a sister-in-law at the time who had a baby 3 months before I gave birth to Jessie, and he was 'normal'. Oh boy, you BET I was resentful. I knew there was no logical reason for it, I tried my best to keep those feelings to myself, and it was a number of months before I could warm up to their baby emotionally.

    Please, please try to be understanding of their pain. Give them a bit more time, then try some overtures. Just treat him as a normal baby in your conversations with your sis-in-law; you know, ask about his weight, his smiles and gurgles, stuff parents like to talk about. DON'T compare your children with hers ("Well, MY little darling got her first tooth WAY before that!").

    You might start prepping your kids about when they will meet their new cousin. Young children can be GREAT ice-breakers; they will probably immediately dote over that baby and once your sis-in-law sees this, things may warm up a bit.

    Patience and time, that's what I needed.

     
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