Believe it or not, for many CHD children this "simple" social interaction, is a huge struggle. They try to make friends, but the process just doesn't come easy. The results for many CHD children is so sad. Some are misunderstood by their peers, some are made fun of, and many have one or no friends at school.
Let's take my Cora for example. She strives to make friendships and share her giving personality. However there is such a social awkwardness she faces daily that keeps her from friendships at school. Cora can't read facial expressions or body language given off by others. She doesn't realize when enough is enough, or even when she has gone to far. She tends to try to hard by exaggerating the story, just hoping for one friend. Just one person to befriend her and chat with her daily. This creates frustration, impatience, and dislike in her peers, that leads to de-friending my daughter. Everyday my daughter awakes for school asking me not to go. She tells me she try's so hard to make friends but she fails everyday. I can see she is lonely, looking desperately for some kind of friendship. I watch her get so frustrated to the point she breaks down, begging me to please let her stay home. It breaks my heart every time. Every part of my being wants to cuddle, hold, and cry with her. The years of protecting Cora has become harder and harder. I know I must loosen my Momma Bear grips to let her learn and explore, but it is so brutal to feel her pain every single day....praying every night that God will magically place a patient person in Cora's life who truly wants to be her friend. Who can get past her health and mental issues, and just be a kindred spirit friend! I just simply can't imagine what it's like for her to face yet another obstacle...even one like this, that I take for granted.
So what do I do? I wish I had a magical answer for my sweet CHD daughter. I wish I could tell her everything will work out. But honestly what teen wants to hear that? What person, teen or adult, who knows she has social issues wants to hear things will get better.....eventually? So what our family has begun to do seems to bring a little sparkle to my sweet daughter's eyes. My hubby and I spend much time with her role playing. Showing her how friends interact, how body language and expressions are hidden signs. We have discussed as a family behavior therapy, which will be two fold for her. It will give her a chance to express her raw feelings, and it will be filled with teaching moments for her. Other than that we are still learning as we go.
If there is one thing I try to remember each time I become overwhelmed is "The Lord will guide you continually." Isaiah 58:11. I may not always see the results I pray for immediately, but I know I, and Cora, will be guided continually!
Blessings Until Next Time!