Bones Home > Independence With Osteogenesis Imperfecta
Although it is natural for parents to feel the need to protect their child with osteogenesis imperfecta from the outside world, it is also extremely important to realize the value of teaching children to be independent. Hiring a babysitter may be beneficial in teaching your child that he or she can function independently without you. Another way for a child to achieve independence with osteogenesis imperfecta is through increased mobility, which can be accomplished through the use of scooters, bikes, or wheelchairs.
Parents generally strive throughout their children's formative years to teach them principles and skills that will enable them to lead self-sufficient, productive lives, as independent of parental influence as possible. For parents of children with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), this can be a challenge. While parents realize the value of teaching their children to be independent, they also tend to protect their child by pulling him or her closer to them. Finding the right balance is the key.
Many children with OI who experience much pain in their early years become frightened of sudden movements, being touched (especially by strangers), or unfamiliar situations. If a parent can provide as many positive experiences in these situations as possible, the fear can be overridden with confidence. Teach your child that others can be trusted to lift or touch him or her.
We cannot stress enough the importance of allowing others to care for your child while you leave for limited periods of time. Not only does this provide some much-needed alone time for you as parents, but it teaches your child that he or she can function independently without you. You need to teach your child independence -- and you, in turn, need to let go.
When instructing your babysitter about the care of your child, remember to repeatedly reassure him or her. Be sure to mention that fractures can happen no matter how careful one is, and that you would not place blame, just as you cannot blame yourself. Always leave a telephone number where you can be reached, and thoroughly explain safe handling and emergency procedures. Bringing along a cell phone or electronic pager helps many parents feel assured that they can be easily reached at any time.