Myth – Families of children with Selective Mutism are typically dysfunctional.
I believe we are a typical family (whatever typical may actually be). We are a close family. We have rules, boundaries and ambitions. As parents, we are striving to bring up her kids the best we can. We want them to grow up happy and secure and so far, I believe, we are doing a mighty fine job.
I have 4 children. Evelena is the third. I guess it could be said, as their mother I definitely worry, a lot. Even now I can still be prone to bouts of anxiety over their wellbeing etc.
However, has that contributed to Evelena and her SM I don’t think so. After all, if this was simply the case, then I would have expected my eldest daughter to have SM and heightened anxiety. The reason being that I believe, as my first-born child, I was definitely the most anxious around her. I was the typical ‘Helicopter parent’ always hovering around. Worrying all the time and forever telling her to be careful, when she started walking, riding a bike, playing in the garden the list goes on.
When I look back, I believe as each child was born I became more relaxed and less focused on ailments, and hazards. Besides, by this time, way too busy with 4 kids to indulge in that.
On reflection I would say I probably enjoyed Evelena and my youngest Niall more in the sense I had more time to focus on their milestones rather than focusing on what they weren’t doing and should be according to my baby books!!
I never suffered with any post natal depression or any difficulties in bonding with all four of my children.
We all have a healthy mother-child bond. At no time do I feel or ever felt emotionally detached from any of them.
Just as I have not, as suggested by experts in times gone by ‘overally attached’ myself to Evelena in an way because of her SM.
My attention towards them all differs slightly, reasoning being their different age and related needs, but my love for all is the same. They are secure, happy, grounded children. I am very proud of them all.
As siblings, they fight and argue like most. They love each other one day detest each other the next. Towards Evelena my three feel very protective, always looking out for her and probably worrying more about her upcoming move to Secondary school, more than she is. At the same time they do not treat her with kid gloves.
We all try our best to make her feel she is no different to us because of her SM.
She is the one that singles herself out from the crowd. Her behaviour is never blamed on SM as my kids don’t allow her to use that as an excuse! not that she tries.
We are all open about her SM and if any of us come across an article etc about SM, we are all able to share it with her. Just as, she will should she discover anything about SM.
For us as a family, it is incredibly important that we all understand SM and can discuss freely. We are at the stage now where I no longer feel we have the ‘elephant in the room’ situation.
In fact, Evelena often says to me, as she crosses another bridge in her SM journey, ‘Mum, soon you won’t have anything to write about on your blog soon!”.