Superheroes and Sidekicks
So, a lot of bloggers who have special needs children refer to them as “Superheroes”. I get that, I think. They are trying to express how hard their children have to work to do many things most parents take for granted. Having said that, it does sound as if their children are better than “normal” ones. That somehow, being disabled makes them worth more: more time, more attention, more money, favourable discrimination somehow. But where does this leave their normally-developing children?
Some of these mommies don’t write too much about them. They tend to mention them in passing, usually in relation to their special “superhero” child. They post “interviews” with them, where nearly every question is about their sibling. Some of them do devote as much space to them and seem to balance their attention a little. But something I came across recently really incensed me.
She called her other child a sidekick. A sidekick! A SIDEKICK!!!
The superhero and the sidekick. The main star and the one delegated to a supporting role. Nowhere near as important.
A sidekick. Just because he doesn’t have to try so hard for everything. Worth less.
Listen lady, being the NT sibling of a SN child is not easy. They usually get less attention from their parents, their achievements are often glossed over while their sibling is praised for every.little.thing. They often feel the burden of their parents’ expectation to take care of their sibling when the parents die. No matter how much we might wish it otherwise, they have to deal with discrimination from their peers – friends often don’t want to come to their house to play, parents often won’t let them form friendships with peers that refuse to include the SN sibling… tip of the iceberg. And many of them have trouble finding life partners willing to carry the burden of the superhero sibling.
These kids are just as entitled to be called superheroes as their special siblings…