Focus Should Be Mainly On How Feeling Special Increases Kids Self-Esteem.
By Ronald Kennedy
February 8, 2023
There are a good deals of behavior changes a child may experience as he or she goes through life. These are behavior issues related to feelings of anger, sadness, frustration, and irritability.
They can become problematic when a child is unable to control or appropriately express them.
Why deaf children feel special and some don’t be never fully understood, but all-in-all, they get through a ‘hearing society’ well.
The ‘downside’ to their life is that they have no way to name, categorize, or normalize the emotions they feel.
They need to learn what it is that they are feeling (feeling signal), words and names for those feelings, and appropriate actions for expressing them.
Poor Ability To Identify Feeling States.
Feeling states are the internal sensation of emotions such as anger, sadness, happiness, and fear. How to feel good and valuable is what’s key!
If a deaf child is taught words by sign, the feelings of the child should not become overwhelming, frightening, and out of control.
When able to identify and acknowledge what they are feeling, the child is more likely to get the support he or she needs.
Children need ongoing instruction and assistance to manage their feelings effectively. This is what’s suggested:
We recommend using the following three-step process
1. Learning to recognize feeling signals by observing others and noticing others and noticing how an emotion feels in his or her own body. Examples are tightening of the jaw, clenching the fist, a fluttering in the stomach, and a flush of heat to the head.
2. Identifying and naming a feeling. Ask your child what a particular feeling signal indicates. “You got all red in the face, were you mad? embarrassed?”
3. Learning what to do with a feeling. You can help your child identify how an expression of a feeling can have positive or negative results.
Your child may have a particular physical makeup that makes her sensitive to touch, foods, noises, lightening, or gravity.
Because of the way your child’s central nervous system reads stimulation, he or she may exhibit emotional expression in a manner that seems extreme (e.g. the child hits if her hair is played with).
Praise your child when he or she expresses herself appropriately. Be patient. As your child matures, so will his or her ability to identify, understand, and communicate his or her feelings.
You can assist in this process by experimenting with physical and verbal outlets for expressing feelings appropriately. Keep in mind his or her developmental skills “learning” and limitations.
If you want to investigate this possibility further, contact an occupational therapist who specializes in sensory defensiveness and deafness.
Consider and rule out possible physical causes of your child’s mood, such as fatigue, hunger, or over-stimulation. Plan ahead in order to avoid situations that may frustrate a tired or overstimulated child.
Have you ever awakened from a dream in which you were trying to escape someone or something frightening and your feet would not carry you to safety?
Or, you were trying desperately to get help and found that you no longer had a voice? Attempting to reach a destination, but unable to find your way?
I would imagine that your relief has been as great as mine when, upon awakening, the realization has finally crept in that it was “only a dream.”
What, you may ask, does all this have to do with moodiness in young children? First, I would like to ask that you keep in mind the feelings produced by the dream experience: the frustration, helplessness, fear, and vulnerability.
We, as adults, can find relief in the discovery that these experiences were only dreams. But, for children, this experience is not just a dream but their day-to-day reality.
At no other time in one’s life are needs so great and skills so few as in early childhood. Beginning in infancy, a child is entirely helpless and dependent upon the instincts of caretakers.
We must guess, when a deaf infant cry, just what is the cry communicating. Is it hunger, a need to be held, or a diaper in need of changing?
THE LEARNING CURVE
Teaching a deaf child to manage moods and value feelings is to teach a child two of the most significant self-esteem builders.
After all, we all feel better about ourselves when we “behave” and are pleasant. Likewise, self-esteem grows when a child learns that feelings are to be respected and listened to, not shamed and dismissed.
Our nerve-endings, when they properly develop, are our best protectors against serious injury.
If we were to touch a hot stove, a quick message would be sent to our brain signaling pain and an equally quick response would cause us to remove our hand to prevent further injury.
In the same way, feelings become our best protectors against harm of other sorts.
A child who learns to respect inner feelings and instincts, will know when a playground bully is out of line.
They’ll talk and complain to adults about being bullied, and ultimately, look for new playmates.
A child whose feelings have not been nurtured may dismiss uncomfortable feelings and endure uncomfortable circumstances.
Similarly, our feelings teach us about that which feels good and rewarding. They become a “barometer” to be relied upon, ever informing us of our needs, likes, dislikes, dangers, and pleasures.
The calibration of this fine tool begins in early childhood. Being taught family unity with empathy & limits, the willingness to “listen” to that which words cannot yet express; the creation of words, signing included, regarding the common language; and ultimately teaching a child to use words as well as actions to explain feelings.
Your child’s expressions may appear to be more graphic for a number of reasons: a) when signing, she probably will have stronger facial and bodily expressions: b) when learning to identify and express new feelings, the child might “overdo” it, and c) the child may feel an urgency to get her point across, especially if it is important to him or her. (It’s amazing how hearing issues affect a child’s life).
Once he or she feels more capable of communicating effectively, the latter two factors will recede. However, pronounced expressiveness is the norm in the deaf community as well as for the deaf person who is not an active community member.
“What’s important is to create a supportive family environment in which feelings and their appropriate expression are unconditionally accepted.”
Hearing parents of non-hearing children and non-hearing adults in the deaf community attending special outdoor events, often do not have opportunities to become acquainted with each other.
Hearing parents with deaf children, usually remain unaware of this society and community events, and hearing impaired adults do not have a pressing need to include hearing parents in non-hearing community activities.
An unfortunate result of such a division is that both hearing parents and non-hearing adults do not understand or learn from one another and the hearing impaired child must navigate between them.
Your entire family can become comfortable with the idea of a hearing impaired community and can benefit from attending special events. When you meet welcoming non-hearing adults, make sure to maintain contact with them.
Ask them to let you know about special events regarding hearing loss. Work at building friendships with adults dealing with hearing loss, and subsequently invite them into your home.
When a child suffering from hearing loss has hearing parents begins to assimilate more cultural values. He or she may find conflicts between non-hearing and hearing ways.
This is not a bad thing! Your child has to begin somewhere in working out how he will handle his bi cultural existence.
If the deaf child becomes familiar with the values and behaviors of both cultures, he or she will gradually learn to make adaptations when moving back and forth between the two.
BOND & COMMUNICATE
Communication, along with sincere family bonding, is so important among the hearing and non-hearing. At some point in your child’s development, especially in pre-adolescence and adolescence, he or she may become a militant supporter of the society’s values.
If he or she has not already done so, he may at this time realize that many of his frustrations arise not because there is something wrong with them, but as a result of hearing people not communicating well and understanding his or her needs.
Always listen to your child’s point of view and let him or her communicate what he or she is learning about themselves. This is so important within the deaf culture. So be up on culture changes, and prepare yourself to ask some questions through voice or sign; depending on the severity of the child’s hearing ability.
4 Replies to “Why Deaf Kids Feel Special?”
I completely agree with Ronald Kennedy’s article on the importance of teaching deaf children to identify and value their feelings.
It can be challenging for deaf children to communicate their feelings, particularly if they do not have the vocabulary to describe them. However, by providing them with the tools to identify and name their emotions, we can help them build their self-esteem and feel more confident in their interactions with others.
I believe that teaching children to manage their moods and value their feelings is a critical part of building their self-esteem. By learning to respect their inner feelings and instincts, they can develop the confidence to stand up for themselves and assert their needs.
As Kennedy notes, our feelings are like a “barometer” that informs us of our needs, likes, dislikes, dangers, and pleasures. It is essential that we teach deaf children to rely on this tool, as it can help them navigate the world with greater ease and confidence.
Overall, I believe that providing deaf children with the support they need to identify and value their feelings is crucial for their emotional and social development. By doing so, we can help them build the confidence and self-esteem they need to thrive in a hearing society.
All the best,
Yes Fred my friend, as you stated self esteem is a ‘key element’ for deaf children to function on a ‘positive note’ among a hearing society. Better social developmental skills will surface over time which will make them feel special among their peers.
Hi, Kennedy, thank you for bringing up this topic. It is more important than perhaps any other parent can think of. How does a parent train a deaf child? We experienced this challenge with our second daughter. After being told that this child was deaf, it was we, first, to learn how we should adjust to the needs of raising a deaf child. How should we identify its feelings and react appropriately? How shall we instruct our child as she grows? Shall we understand her and will she understand us? All these were questions that looked un-surmountable. But once we accepted the responsibility, everything else became easier. The whole family gave her a special position in the home and from then on our daughter has grown, schooled and recently we celebrated her degree in the sciences. Everyone who knew her history came. It was simply amazing!! All that you have explained was crucial in her growth and development. I hasten to add that although we fulfilled almost all of what you explain in this post, I have to confess that we would perhaps have responded better had we, then, had this information before. Once again, Kennedy, thank you so much.
Hawumba, it’s great to hear in the end, that your daughter achieved amazing academic success. Despite all what your family went through in the early stages, everything worked out in the end. Congrats to you & family, my friend.