Parenting with a Limb Difference: Teenagers
by Amber Henson, on Mar 21, 2023
Well, there’s no more small jackets to zip. No more soggy-noodle-temper-tantrum-throwing toddlers to pick up off the grocery store floor. No more bath times to navigate. So, when you’re a parent with a limb difference with a teenager, what advice do we have?
Or rather, what advice does our super-star patient Jason Koger, bilateral amputee and parent of two teenagers, have?
One of the talking points Jason shared with us is that he’s a living reminder of how important it is to have health insurance in the United States. “My daughter and I were discussing her plans for after high school, what she wanted to do and how much money she could make. I reminded her that looking into what benefits a position offers is really important.” Jason knows that a major injury without health insurance can bankrupt someone. “After that discussion, she’s started keeping her eye out for positions that offer good health insurance.” While some parents can keep their children on their insurance up to the age of 25, that’s not the case for everyone, so it’s something to keep in mind.
Speaking of jobs, “Since my kids see all the care that I receive, between my prosthetist and my OT and the healthcare professionals I see, I hope they know how many options are out there if they want to have a job where they help people.”
Resilience is another topic that came up, along with trying not to burden other people with your own issues. “There are definitely days, like when a storm is coming and the pressure in the air is changing, where I am in a lot of pain. But I will rarely bring this up to my kids, because I don’t need to complain to them. Sometimes I will bring it up, but just to remind them that everyone is going through something, even if you can’t see it on their face.”
“Another piece of the puzzle is attitude. I went through something pretty rough, and I’ve come out of it with a good attitude, and I think my kids can see that. I hope it helps them develop a good attitude when they come across their own challenges in life.”
We spoke with Jason a bit about navigating the new friends (and new parents) that might come into their teenagers lives while in high school. Jason laughed a bit. “Well, that I can’t speak to, because we live in a relatively small town, and everyone knows me. My kids don’t always like that, but it is what it is.” But if you do find yourself in need of some advice regarding how to handle the questions and stares that may come from new friends and parents, you can refer to our school-aged children article. Just be straightforward with people, don’t answer questions they don’t ask, and try to be as friendly as possible. It’s not your job to educate others about your limb difference, but if your teenager is present, it’s a great time to display kindness for their benefit.
If you have recently experienced an amputation and are looking for information that may help your family navigate the weeks and months following your surgery, we would recommend our article, “Effects of an Amputation on Family Members.”
We hope this has helped answer some of your questions about having a limb difference and parenting a teenager. If you would like to learn more about the prosthetic care that our clinical team offers, please contact us. If you have anything to contribute to this conversation, we would be happy to have you add your comment below. Good luck!