I once read a comment from an adult who said she was punished as child every time her eye drifted. Her parents thought by punishing her they would force her to learn keep her eyes fused. Those who don’t have strabismus have no idea how difficult it is for a person with strabismus to maintain fusion of their vision.
Children need to be provided professional help for drifting eyes. Surgery may be indicated. Often vision therapy is quite successful with children, and a good therapist can make it fun as well (but it’s still work!). Parents need to guide their children in setting aside time for therapy “homework.” But to try to force someone with strabismus to keep their eyes from any drift is torture.
Not only is the parent requiring their child to do something that is impossible, they are reinforcing their child’s feelings of being unacceptable. I’ve heard many adults say that as children they felt rejected at home as much or more than anywhere else because of their strabismus. Home is supposed to be a place where we can retreat to safety.
Accept your child just as they are. Help them to improve what can be improved, and help them develop the potential with which they are uniquely created. But don’t forget to help them be confident in who they are right now as well. For a child, nothing can do that better than hearing their parent say, “I’m proud of you!” Be sure they hear it often from you!
Photo credit: smojellojo