Mentally Challenged kids - Should they be alienated?

Rejoice! The baby is born.

Those parents, who might have already had the horrifying experience of being confronted in their past, with that one single life changing moment, when it had felt like being hit by a bolt of lightning, would better understand the misery and helplessness associated with the crude reality of giving birth to, and nurturing, a mentally challenged baby. The journey of such grief stricken parents, generally, starts with an irreconcilable shock and uncontrolled tears but gradually ends in acceptance, mitigation and salvaging whatever is left. Did I say salvaging? Some parents get so much blinded with grief and mental chaos that they tend to (unintentionally) ignore the ‘salvaging’ part by neglecting their other children. What happens to the siblings in a house infested with insanity, violence, screams, depression and frenzy? The parents are, no doubt, the worst sufferers but are the siblings any less affected?

Let me share a story (true story) with you and you decide for yourself, the best recourse in such situations. This is a story of a woman (Alisha) who spent her entire childhood and youth witnessing the aggression and violence of her mentally challenged sister (Nancy). I had a long talk with her once but towards the end of the conversation, I was completely at a loss; I wasn’t able to identify someone who could be held responsible for her predicament. Assessing the state of affairs from where she stood, my heart went out to her. It seemed that even after being married for a very long time, the memories of her unhealthy childhood had left deep rooted scars on her psyche. She looked at me with those empty eyes and started off by saying, “we do certain things which seem so right at a given point of time and later keep wishing for the rest of our lives that we hadn’t.”

Without stepping into an arena of passing a verdict, let me put down the excerpt (from our conversation) for your perusal and we’ll proceed from thereon. At this juncture, I wouldn’t like to miss an opportunity to confess that her life story inspired me to an extent that I compiled her eye-opening experiences in my Novel, ‘From the desk of a daughter’ (Link given on my profile page). Let’s move further. Here's what Alisha had to say.

Lonely childhood of a sibling

From the eyes of a sibling…

“My parents had turned every stone possible with a hope to see Nancy (mentally challenged sister) at least approach normalcy but over the years all their hopes had died down. Her violent behavior aggravated as she grew up. She would not let anyone enter our house and have a normal conversation with my parents; I never recollect having been able to talk to my mother or father for more than a few seconds, at any given point of time. She would start crying and shouting on the top of her voice whenever she saw any one of us talking to each other or to any visitor, for that matter. A strange behavior for which no doctor had an answer! It used to be a source of huge embarrassment for my parents. The worst thing she did to us was that we lost contact with the outside world; no visitors allowed.

We could not even put Nancy in some special school as there were no such schools in the city we lived in. Very soon I realized that there was no social life left for us. More than any of us this proved detrimental to my father’s career as his profession needed him to be socially active. Who doesn’t know that one cannot survive in journalism by confining himself to his house for most of the time! It was like a fish out of water twitching on dry earth and still hoping to live. I saw him, struggling, barely being able to support his family and always under a constant fear of losing his job. He denied many lucrative work opportunities which could have proved a boon for his career, just for the reason that he could not travel out of the city, leaving his wife all alone to take care of Nancy, who was a total liability and needed one person round the clock to take care of her needs. The doctors had told my parents soon after Nancy’s birth that she could never be a normal person and that it would be in the best interest of the family if the child was alienated and put in some kind of a facility so that the other members wouldn’t get affected by her abnormal behavior. I guess my father never felt strong enough to let his minor and mentally retarded daughter, go out of his sight even for a single day. It was indeed a dilemma! My parents had to make a choice and they made it; Nancy was to stay put ….”


Her parents had made a choice; a choice of keeping Nancy in the house as they never felt strong enough to put her in some facility but they had probably not anticipated the adverse effect it eventually had on their other two daughters (the youngest one passed away when she was in High School). As I delved deep into her heart-rending story, I could very well imagine what Alisha might have gone through and what she might have had to withstand, with her heart bleeding and mouth shut all the time. Apparently, she had never been able to get from her parents, the love and attention which she had so much craved for, in her childhood. Nancy had devoured each and every moment of the happiness which she rightfully deserved. I could clearly see why Alisha had turned into an introvert, quiet, hypersensitive and an enigmatic person. She surprised me when she blatantly admitted that despite trying hard to be normal in her personal life, she had never been able to live like any other woman of her age. “May be I suffer from some psychological disorder which I don’t even know about.” She briefly paused and looked down (her hands clasped together) as she wound up, putting the entire blame on her own self, for her unsuccessful married and social life. What else could a daughter do?

Mentally Challenged Kids

Cast your vote for Mentally Challenged Kids

Should mentally challenged kids be alienated?

See results without voting

Comments 69 comments

cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 7 years ago from North Carolina

Tough story Anjali, I wish there were special hospitals for such children so they can live there but still will be needing help around the clock, who else can provide that except for the family. Nancy did her best but she shouldn't spend time dwelling on the past. I read a quote today from a coach of my university, Kay Yow who died today, she battled cancer for a long time and still refused to quit her job and coached the college team basketball. She said the following, which Nancy and even us should use it:

"When life kicks you, let it kick you forward."

Maybe Nancy can use psychological counseling sessions to move past that.

Mike Kage profile image

Mike Kage 7 years ago from New Hampshire, New England, USA, North America

Anjali, a powerful and thought provoking hub.  It's heartbreaking to hear a child blame herself for the dysfunction of a family.  "Shame on the parents!" is my first reaction, but  I can only offer sympathy not empathy.

Such children will never be 'normal', but should never be outcast!

easetravels profile image

easetravels 7 years ago from INDIA,TAMILNADU

How do you know this true story of my family. My sister lived like Nancy for 25 years in our home. She is no more now. My parents cannot go together for a  picnic or for a function. But we were also given equal imporance by our parents. Very good medical treatment was given to our sister while we were given very good education. We accepted her as she was and moved with her as we move with others. We quarelled with her. We bought chocolates for her. We made her understand slowly that she is also important and not  she is the only important. Poor girl died due to TB.

Family people only will have to solve this. Prayers will make the members of the family to maintain their wits.

What to do? Understand to accept as what is given to us by God.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

cgull8m: There seems to be slight confusion. Nancy is the mentally retarded girl not the woman I spoke with. Anyways that's not the point. You are right. She should move forward and leave her past behind. Since this is a true story, I can only speak for this woman. She has been trying her best but it seems that her memories have been affecting her present as well. Thx for reading.

Mike Kage: We can only sympathize with the woman (Alisha) in the story. Sometimes I really wish that the parents had decided to keep Nancy in a facility rather than keeping her at home along with other siblings but then whatever is done cannot be undone. Just as you said, one can only show sympathy. So much could have been saved from getting destroyed. But..... Thx for visiting.

easetravels: All mentally challenged kids are not alike. The situation worsens when a retarded child is violent and aggressive too, as was the case in the present story. Nancy's violence sucked out every drop of happiness from the family and that is what is unfortunate. Thx for your comments.

Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India

Anjali..a real heart rending story! I had all along sympathized with the parents of such children but never thought of the effect on the siblings..esp when the challenged child is so violent! It is so very sad indeed. Often, we take decisions, which we think is right at that point in time, but then, time tells a different story.

We just cannot judge people, as at that point it would seem right to them. The parents must have felt guilty to let go of a helpless baby whom they brought into this world! They would have felt responsible .Its understandable! If the child was not violent, the situation might have been different! We do not have answers to so many whys and ifs in our lives. We can only console ourselves by saying what is meant to happen has happened , especially when things are beyond our control. This thought goes a long way in healing!(Treading the wrong path does not fall into this category tho”)

It is sad that Alisha had to gone through so much trauma for no fault of hers,but then at least she had a home and family..a family who had values, not to abandon a challenged child! We see so many parents abandoning their children.. those children too go thro’ trauma. So many orphan children who do not have homes and parents for no fault of theirs .So, Alisha should think of the of the more unfortunate ones and she will realize her situation was not that bad. She can even look at her new born baby and think whether she will let it go if it was not normal..It will heal her too! Just my humble view.Thanks for such a great hub Anjali..I had never thought about this angle though.

Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India

Anjali..Are your books available in Indian stores? Esp in Chennai or maybe Bangalore?

Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India

Anjali,another thought just came to me..maybe we should explain to Alisha that Nancy was born challenged for no fault of hers.BTW,have you seen the movie 'Anjali' by Mani Ratnam?It was taken in Tamil first and I think it was dubbed in Hindi too.It had this theme.The siblings resented the challenged child and even felt ashamed,but ultimately they accept her.Yes,I vivdly remember one scene where the harassed mother tells her challenged child"I've neglected my other children just for your sake"...its a beautiful and touching movie..just check it out Anjali..

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

Laila Rajaratnam: Thx very much for taking out time to read this story. I felt the same way as you did. Parents couldn't have been blamed for what they did. At the same time I felt equally bad for Alisha the way her whole life changed because of the reasons discussed. When we find no solutions, we blame the destiny. Sometimes we as human beings, no matter how strong we might be, find ourselves totally trapped in our situations and find no way out. Thx for your comments.

My book is available on the website (link given above). Apart from that it will be sold (in about a week's time) on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Borders and other online bookstores. Besides, the distribution channel includes around 20,000 book stores in USA & Canada. However, in India I'll have to give publishing rights to a publisher. Even there Amazon (online) would show it on the web. Thx

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

Laila: I've seen that movie three times. That girl (Anjali) in the movie was shown as a very sweet & pretty little girl. You could sympathize with her, the way she was. Trust me, Nancy was nowhere close to that girl in respect of her violence and behavioral patterns which I have not touched in the story. But I know.. that has no bearing on the decision taken by Alisha's parents. They had to take it anyways. Thx

mikeq107 7 years ago

Hi Anjali :0)

Great Hub....I drove special needs children and worked in a special ed class room and during that time saw many parents make some very tough decisions and honestly I would not want to have been in their shoe`s. Many of these parents I came to know on a very personal level and cried with some at the decisions some had to make....not too sure what I`m trying to say here, only as you yourself know it’s a case by case situation and all family members have to be considered and we on the outside can only come along and help where we can and not judge as you know and pray that the right decision is made for everyone concerned....

Heart touching Hub....Mike :0)

BeatsMe profile image

BeatsMe 7 years ago

It is hard to live with violent people, even if they're your sibs or even parents. So I think that if they're violent, they should be alienated for the safety and sanity of everyone around. If they're not violent then they deserve a life with their family.

goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

I didn't read any comments, but I would say no, the child must stay with the parents. I think though many people will have a very difficult time with it, I couldn't imagine being able to live with the thought- that its not the child's fault and that all they want is to be loved too. the family has to cope, because that's what they do. Leave no one behind.

Denny Lyon profile image

Denny Lyon 7 years ago from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Mentally challenged people are rarely this violent unless some severe brain injury occurs.  In America most parents handle this situation quite well, violent or not and made arrangements if necessary. 

Unfortunately, when someone is brain injured, mentally challenged or not, they do get violent and dangerously so.  Most likely the parents in your story were embarrassed and just plain overwhelmed, not thinking past the most recent episode to realize how it was affecting them or their other children.

I've worked with a lot of different kinds of Special Needs people, children and adult.  My mother-in-law became the first champion of special needs people in the state of Louisiana and also a teacher in the school system in the early stages of figuring out how to almost mainstream - or not - the children.

What motivated her?  One of her 5 children was born with a birth injury (hospital fault though they never sued) and she was declared a vegetable.  The truth is that my  sister-in-law is basically regressed to the level of a really cool five-year-old with all the joy and enthusiasm of that mental and emotional age. 

However, because of brain injury she has taken heavy anti-epilepsy meds since age 2.  Eventually, her parents knew she would need too much care and the meds would cost too much for any of her siblings to care for her in her old age. 

So, my mother-in-law made the agonizing decision to place her daughter in an institution she helped create in this state.  She put her in and took her out a few times, crying all the while, until she settled on being separated from her daughter. They placed their daughter when she was 16 as they thought she was finally old enough to adjust to a new situation. They also wanted to place her while she was still young and emotionally flexible to bond with the workers there.

The compromise came about that every 2 weekends the family goes and picks her up from the institution, along with a huge bag of meds, and takes her home for the weekend.  That has suited everyone quite well.  It isn't an ideal situation but one that works for everyone and with a lot less stress all around.

Resentment, frustration, anger, guilt are all the usual emotions for the siblings.  In your friend's case, she was indirectly abused by the parents being overwhelmed.  The smart thing to do is get some grief counseling to find her balance.  If she is inclined, to also seek on some spiritual level as that is where she is most wounded.  The Divine connection can give Love like nothing else.

Since I experienced another kind of childhood abuse I can say from my own quest for balance that it is important to ask what was the learning experience? Otherwise, the negativity is too overwhelming.  When you figure it out, then it's time to learn how to separate the seared negative emotion from the memories, PTSD, to find her way to freedom and balance.  I wish her good luck and a determination to heal all the way, refusing to settle for anything less.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

mike / cynthia: For parents it's like ripping off a piece of their heart when they leave such children in a facility. It is a tough decision and some are forced to take such difficult ones in life. Finally it comes down to ...'What cannot be cured has to be endured. Thx for your kind comments.

BeatsMe: I know what you are saying. Whatever said and done it's more than 'just difficult' to live with a viloent mentally challenged. It means spending days and nights in such an insane environment which can drive even normal people crazy. Thx for reading.

Goldentoad: Your comments are appreciated. I understand your view point. That's why some parents are not able to let go such kids out of their sight, no matter how tough it might be to have them around. Thx for visiting.

Denny Lyon: I can't express in words how much your comment has meant to me. The decision that your mother-in-law took was by far the most appropriate in the given circumstances. I think I would have done the same considering my other children. I believe there are ways to combat a situation if one really wants to. One needs to have a foresight though, to assess the far reaching effects of not taking any suitable action (like what happened in my friend's case). As far as spiritual healing is concerned, she has gone a long way on that path. I have explained that part in detail in my book (link given above). Due to space constraint, I could not cover that here. Alisha suffered miserably all her life and the only remedy which helped her buying peace was spirituality. She lost her childhood and youth, though. My idea of writing this hub was to force the readers to assess and re-assess the effect such problems have on the siblings. It might help some parents to alter their decisions if they happen to have such a problem in their lives. Thx very much for taking out time to read this.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

You can't conflate learning difficulties or mental illness with violence. Many prople suffer from the first, but not the second, and many violent people are perfectly "sane".

Ms Chievous profile image

Ms Chievous 7 years ago from Wv

I have a lifetime of working with mentally challenged people, adults and children.  In all cases the mentally challenged individual copes better with life if family is involved.  Putting a person away .. out of sight out of mind .. does not make the situation go away.. it just makes it worse. There are few institutions that can provide the actual love that a mentally challenged person needs.  In my experience I have found these instutions are staffed by high school graduates who are just looking for a job and have little compassion for what they do. I understand the plight of the family and how difficult it is to not burn out after dealing with the same situations/behaviors over and over.  That is why it is important to build suppport systems in out families and communities.  Maybe there will be more commmuniy programs in the next four years..

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

LondonGirl: I am a little confused. Possibly I didn't understand what you actually meant. This is a real life story which I discussed in my hub. So I don't think I tried to conflate the two things as you mentioned. This is what has actually happened. Please let me know if I misunderstood. Thx for visitng.

Ms. Chievous: You're right. I still wish there was 'a home away from home' where these kids could get love and compassion they need. It would be a win-win situation for everyone. Thx for your kind comments.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Your question is a general one; it concerns me that the impression is created that violence is typical of those with mental illness or learning difficulties.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

LondonGirl: My question was specifically in relation to the content of my hub. It was not intended to be generic. If it gave that impression then I stand corrected. Thx for coming back.

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Anajali- My view is that such issues need to be dealt on a case to case basis. If the mentally challenged kid is able to adjust and others are able to adjust to them then it should certainly be the first preference but in case it affects the family happiness no matter what efforts are being taken then it is best both for the child and the family that they should admit such kid in special facility where specialized care can be provided for. I agree with Laila that movie Anjali certainly bought the issue of mentally challenged kids in limelight in India. Thumbs up for a thoughtful hub.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

CW: That's what I think. Some 'via media' has to be struck. After all, the emotional needs of other children in the family cannot be overlooked. You're right in saying that the situation differs on case to case basis and nothing specific can be prescribed. One has to assess a lot of factors before taking any decision. As I said earlier in my reply to Denny Lyon's comment, my sole purpose of writing this hub was to show the facts from the eyes of a sibling, for a change. Siblings are often forgotten in such situations. Thx very much for your comments.

einron profile image

einron 7 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Have the parents turned to God for guidance, comfort? The parents did not react correctly towards the other two siblings.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

einron: Yes, I feel bad for the other two. The parents had to be far sighted to anticipate the results. It must have been hard for parents too. Only God can help in some situations. Thx for your kind comments.

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

Anjalichugh, this is a sad story. The violent behavior of the mentally disabled daughter should have been taken into consideration by the parents. I think that the question is not so much should mentally disabled children be institutionalized or not. That is a decision for the parents to make on a case by case basis. But there is a hidden assumption in the question, which is: if parents do choose to keep a violent disabled child at home, what measures are they allowed to use in order to protect the rest of the family?

Institutions where violent people are housed use restraints and drugs in order to protect others from the violent person. Violent people are kept in a different ward, and their access to others is limited. People who choose to take care of a violent family member at home should be allowed to use reasonable measures to protect others, too. This might mean, for instance, reserving a special wing of the house for the violent person, and not allowing the violent person to disrupt all social activities.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

Aya Katz: You are absolutely right. I agree with you. It is the parents' decision and that differs from case to case basis but appropriate measures should be taken to ensure that the siblings live a normal healthy life. Thx for visiting. Your comments are appreciated.

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I'm actually feeling torn with mixed emotions right now. One bearing the good news.."You've made it again to the hubnuggets list this week!" and the other being "this sounds so heavy, my heart feels this woman's pain." Situations like this are never easy and the choices each parent will make will affect the child and siblings one way or the other.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

ripplemaker: Thanks very much for the good news. I really found my family here. I'm thrilled.

Referring to this hub, I know it's simply unfortunate for those who get caught in such situations. The more I think about it the more clueless I end up. Only God can help such people find their way. Thx for visiting.

Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

I also agree on a case by case study whether to separate a mentally challenged child from the family. I have seen first hand from families who had no clue how to handle such a child and no desire to learn. This takes a total commitment with more than just that child's well-being at stake. It includes the total family. Each situation should be weighed very carefully. There are no easy questions for such personal matters but for some, tough love is the best all around answer.

NVarchitect 7 years ago

It's a gut wrenching decision for any parent. One that I have not had to make but either way the loss and grief would be unbearable. Thanks for sharing and making us think.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

Dottie1 & NVarchitect:

Definitely, it is one of the most difficult decisions which parents have to make. It is more than difficult to strike a balance in such situations. One or the other ends up getting hurt and devastated. My only intention was to highlight a sibling's predicament amidst such problems. It was entirely from the eyes of a sibling.....a sibling who felt forgotten and neglected in the process.

Thx for your time and kind comments.

Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

This is just a sad and touching story for all concerned. It also makes me realize how lucky I have been with my children.

Thanks for bringing this difficult situation to light. I'm sure that there are probably a fair number of people who have been in similar situations. They may be able to take a little comfort in the fact that they are not alone in the experience.

I think also, that you have given parents of mentally challenged kids a different, 'big picture' perspective that may help them make a difficult decision. I do not envy them or the heartbreak they must feel.

Great job on this sensitive topic, Anjalic!

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

Shirley Anderson: You've said it all. I don't need to add anything. That was indeed my purpose show the picture from a different perspective. Thx very much for your kind comments.

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Great story on a difficult problem. I honestly don't know what I would do. I am thankful I have never been confronted by this situation. Thank you for writing this. You did an excellent job!

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

Christoph: I know even I wouldn't know what to do. These things are situational. One takes decisions based on several factors which might be governing our lives at a given point of time.

Thx for your time and kind comments.

guidebaba profile image

guidebaba 7 years ago from India

I have too often observed that mentally or physically challenged kids are infact more intelligent than normal ones. They don't need any sympathy. They just need little love and guidance and they will be on their way.

affiliater profile image

affiliater 7 years ago from India

Why ????

These kids just need help......... my comments are purely personal, as I feel that they should be tried to be integrated with normal kids. Ofcourse, with some extra help from us... Have experienced the trauma of one and am speaking from experience..

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

Guidebaba & affiliater:

In a way you are right. As you already know all mentally challenged kids are not alike. They can exhibit varied behavioral patterns ranging from a simple learning disability /dyslexia to extremely violent & abnormal mental condition. The decision of either keeping them in the house or alienating them, basically differs from case to case. Not all of them are capable of moving ahead in life with love & sympathy. I'm saying this out of my personal experience. I know it's a very tough decision for parents but they owe a responsibility towards other kids also. Again, every case is different.

Thx for your time and kind comments.

guidebaba profile image

guidebaba 7 years ago from India

Not only parents but the society as a whole owe some responsibility towards such kids.

hipattrick profile image

hipattrick 7 years ago

You write great hubs. This one is superb. I hope that you get the award for best hub nugget. Cheers !!

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

hipattrick: Thank you very much for your encouragement and appreciation.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

Good article and thought provoking.

In the 1970s, a family in Indiana adopted a very young son, but the agency did not tell them about his serious medical history. By the time he was 5, he had burned the family's house halfway down (seriously), tried to kill the 4-year old daugheter of the family and nearly succeeded, attacked the parents with sharp knives in the middle of the night, and many other disasters. The parents tried to give him back to the agency, it went to court, and the judge ruled against them. They attempted to find a facility for this young boy, but uncessfully and I do no know what happened to them all in the end. I hope the adoption agency was held responsible.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

Patty Inglish: I wish you had left this comment much earlier so that other people who landed on this hub could have read it. No one, but me, can understand what it might have been for that family. It's so unfortunate that some people get caught in such situations and the worst thing is that they find no way out.

Thx for reading.

robertsloan2 profile image

robertsloan2 7 years ago from San Francisco, CA

There are other ways of handling behavior problems than institutionalization. Alisha's situation is tragic, yes. It happens in many homes and not just if a child is mentally challenged. Sometimes it happens because a parent is. Who's got any way out then?

Sometimes a mentally challenged child can grow up to glue a family closer together. That depends a lot on what the challenges are and how well the parents handle the special needs of that child and their other children. Either could be a bad decision. Parents who can handle even healthy normative children without warping their psyches and terrorizing them into lifelong problems are rare enough as it is.

This shows one side of the coin. It doesn't say anything about whether Alisha's life would have been any better without that obvious scapegoat of the family's dysfunction there on the spot to be an excuse for isolation and probably a host of codependence-related emotional problems. That insecurity doesn't just come from the obvious challenged individual. It comes in the ways people adapt to unacceptable behavior instead of finding reasonable ways to hold boundaries.

Tough call.

Not everyone gets the kids that have everything perfect.

I voted "Can't Say" because it varies so much with every individual household affected by a member who's mentally challenged. For that matter the slow, the learning disabled and the mentally ill including the violent mentally ill are all combined in that question -- when degree of symptoms and type of symptoms plus parental skill have a lot to do with what would be the best decision in any individual situation.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

robertsloan2: I guess I too would have voted for 'can't say' as every situation is different and as you said all mentally challenged kids are not alike. Hence the decision also has to be different in each case. The question is how many parents are able to handle the situation in a way that siblings don't get affected.

Thx for your time and thoughtful comments.

C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 7 years ago from NW Indiana

Life can be hard in more ways than we think. Your story is heartfelt. Interesting and sad!

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

C.S.Alexis: You're right. Life can be too complicated sometimes and the irony is that it's not always because of our actions.

Thx for visiting.

mom of andy 6 years ago

just googled mentally challenged child and found YOU...I am the mom of a mentally challenged adult child and am now facing what to do for I cannot physically or emotionally handle him anymore. I decided on a well respected personal care home last week. And after the intake eval they denied us..said they didn't think he would be compatable???? The decision for this home was so intensly heart retching for me and when I finally resolved that it is for the best being denied broke me down so much I am again at a loss what to do???? He is not violent he is just hard. Oh God no one knows unless you have walked in my shoes. Have You? walked in my shoes? I voted NO.

Nick 6 years ago

My brother with downsyndrome is out of control. His medical bills are more than my parents make a year, he can't go out in public because he always screams, I can't have a normal social life, and more than frequently, he goes on wild rampages and throws glass, the tv, my glasses, hurts my little sister,and once, broke a glass over my head. I was hospitalized...

But my dumbass father still thinks wrong of sending him to a mentL hospital, or an insane assylum... I've became emo and cut myself every night. I, once a straight A student, failing... Because of gods mistake on society set upon me. I attempted suicide several times.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 6 years ago from New York Author

Mom Of Andy:

Somehow I didn't get the notification of your post which is why I didn't respond to it till today. The decision of alienating such children is totally personal and there can be no straight-jacket formula for such problems. What I wanted to assert here was the effect of such children on the siblings...which parents tend to overlook. You might want to read Nick's post for understanding this better. Thx very much for joining in.


If there's anyone who can understand your situation that would be ME. I've no words to express my feelings. I can empathize with you as I've been there myself. I don't blame the parents as it is a tough, sometimes heart rending, decision for them but they should try to strike a balance somewhere. There's got to be a solution to every problem. At least that's what I think. I don't know what else to say here. I guess I said enough in my hub. God give you courage and vision to find your life path. Take care.

anon 6 years ago

Such individuals should be seperated. It is only beneficial to state budgetting to keep them at home, they are detrimental to their families.

Although this is almost a taboo subject and my views not in keeping with society I feel my view is informed. My brother has leaning disabiliy, ADHD and tourettes. I can truthfully say my childhood was horrific because of his violence and demanding behaviour. My needs were ignored as a child. It drove me to be independent and I am even able to work as an allied health professional caring for others. However, I am due to start much needed pschology appointment as I am haunted by images of his violence and my mothers blind eye. I have severed contact with my family and taken my name off his power of attorney (which was signed under duress anyway). I strongly urge anyone in my position to do the same if you ever want the chance to make something of your life.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 6 years ago from New York Author

Hi Anon!

Not many people would understand your pain as, to be able to empathize, they have to undergo the kind of trauma you faced. Its easy to say that such children should not be alienated but very difficult to comprehend the far reaching effects, their presence has on the rest of the family, especially siblings. There's nothing much I can say in reply to your post except that I've been there and that's what makes me the one who 'knows'. Thx very much for joining in.

mother of mentally challenged daughter 6 years ago

You don't know and can't possibly undertand Alisha's view unless you stand in her shoes and live her life.

mother of mentally challenged daughter 6 years ago

We are in the process of finding a group home for our daughter. She has MANY mental challenges. Due to what she has, she acts aggressively, physically and sexually. This is what retarded people do. This is how people with brain injuries act like. They think with their "lower" brain. Impulsive, what ever feels good at the moment. She is 12 years old and I have a 10 year old and a 7 year old. It is better to think of the over all family and how it functions. This child has almost destroyed our family completely. My 10 year old daughter's self esteem has been shattered and my 7 year old has immense anger. They didn't ask to live in prison. They just want a loving family to thrive in. We witness screaming and tantrums daily. It is like the psych ward in our home. I don't want my other daughter's growing up choosing mates that abuse them the same way their sister did because that's what they are used too. This is your reality check people. Unless you lived in the situation, your input does not count because you have NO CLUE what it's like and what kind of hell these siblings endure and what it does to destroy the rest of their life. I have seen it first hand. I live this reality every day. Although I love my first daughter with ALL my heart I won't sacrifice another minute of my other daughter's lives to be screwed over. My husband and I will have to endure the heart ache of her being in a facility rather than the heart ache of our family being destroyed and our marriage falling apart.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 6 years ago from New York Author

mother of mc daughter:

We are on the same page regarding this issue. That's what exactly I wanted to put across. Through this hub. I made an attempt to warn the parents (of such children) of the serious consequences and the repercussions which non-alienation would have on their other children. I'm so much grateful to you for having come forward and shared your personal experience with other readers. Coming from a person who has and is still suffering due to such an unfortunate situation at home, sounds more convincing. Your comments are much appreciated.

Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

Such a tough decision Anjali. I know I would never want any child of mine away from me - but I don't think it fair to make any of the other children deal with it either. I also agree with some of the comments above that till you are in that place, you really don't know what you'll do and what seems best. Whichever way, it must be heartrending for all concerned - in the case you've mentioned, it's tragic that a sister should blame herself for something that's just circumstantial.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 6 years ago from New York Author

Hi Shalini!

I can't thank you enough for your kind words. Its certainly one of those hapless situations where parents seem to lose control over their lives. No matter how much they would want to, it surely is not easy to keep a mentally challenged kid away from home. I guess its again a choice they have to make for the greater good. Perhaps, it doesn't make sense to jeopardize the lives of other children in the process of keeping the challenged kid in the family. Again, the situation varies on case to case basis. Parents might not even have to think about alienation if the challenged kid is not violent depends. Thx very much for being a part of this hub.

Germangirl2312 6 years ago

I think mentally challenged kids should absolutly not be alienated from their family's. Unless the child is severe agression and a danger to others and him/herself. First of all get your children the help they need. I have been dealing with an autistic child since almost 12 years. I had to deal with allot of Tantrums that included biting, scratching and throwing things. First of all things get better if you get the Therapy they need. Inform yourself how to continue Therapy at home.

I have two other daughter who understand the hardships of having a handicapped sister. They definatly get the alone time with me they deserve. They get plenty of love. They have a better understanding about family unity then other kids there age. They come with us to many Therapy appointments. We are in this as a family!

Currently, things are a bit rough as she enters Teenagehood.She can funciton without much help; she dresses herself, takes care of her hygiene. She mostly is like any other twelve year old. Just slower. She goes to school pulls of A's and B's mostly. I have done my best to help her. I would never give her up. Just so I can have some alone time or freedom. I am a mom till I die and go to heaven. I have free time when my kids are in school. When my kids are home we are together. We go and spend time together. We accept my mentally challenged child the way she is. Even is she has the occasionlly fit. The Tantrums she had when she was 5 were severe. They were twice a week and bad. With love, understanding, rules we reached a level of about one Tantrum a 1-2 month. I see a progress! I see the light!

I don't understand in what Society we live that we discard our elderly and discard our kids. I am not giving my baby up. I am dedicated to my children. All of them not just the considered normal ones...sorry for the rant..I just see so many mom's giving their kids up like its so easy and so simple.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 6 years ago from New York Author

Germangirl: I sincerely admire the courage and positive attitude with which you've dealt with your situation all these years. Hats off! Well, if there are parents who, for some personal reasons, have to alienate their retarded children (for which I don't judge them),there are parents (like you) who keep such children close, no matter what. That deserves admiration and applause. As an example, (like I mentioned in the beginning) this hub is based on a true story of a woman who kept her mentally retarded daughter with her (as a part of the family) for more than forty years and the daughter is still alive. Well, in the process her entire family fell apart. Don't ask me how as I won't be able to narrate the story here. All I can say is that it was a family of 5 people, 2 of whom died prematurely and one became a mental wreck. Now the only 2 people left in the family are the mother (who never gave up on her retarded daughter despite being almost bed-ridden herself)and retarded daughter herself. The mother lives with a deep regret for not having tended to her other two daughters. So, my dear, it all depends on what type of mental ailment the child suffers from. Sometimes, it is in the best interest of the family to alienate the challenged kid. However, its not my call to say that. Its all bout the choices we make I always say. Thx so much for your insightful comments. I really appreciate.

Been There Done That 5 years ago

I read your hub with interest. I have relatives with a very aggressive mentally disabled son, and another with mentally disabled twins that are very aggressive and violent. I wasn't even in the same house as them, and I was affected just from the limited contact. Frequently beaten (then made to feel guilty when I fought back during our holiday visits)...As a young teen, I was raped by the mentally retarded boy, who was 6 years older than me. Nothing was done back then, because "he didn't mean it" (oh, well, that sure made me feel better) I was to young to realize I could have reported it to the police and had the whole lot of them thrown in jail where they (stupid parents and the boy) belong.

I can't imagine growing up in a home with these kinds of siblings. Holidays and family get togethers were enough to make me hate them for life.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 5 years ago from New York Author

Been there Done That:

I understand. Rest assured, I'm not going to be the one to condemn your thoughts like most people would do after reading your post. Well, I wouldn't blame them as no one can understand the pain such children cause. One has to live with such children under one roof to understand what it means. To you, my friend I can only say...."been there, done that". Thank you for sharing your experiences here.

Nidhi 5 years ago


I have been reading a lot of comments in this hub.. and needs some advice here of the changes that are going to happen in my life...

I m in love wid a guy, we truly love each other... and want to get married but the main problem is his sister. She is a mentally challenged person but not at all violent.. I have met her many times but she never shown anything like being violent and abusive. She is just like a child and talks and behave in a friendly way. she also do most of her daily routine taks all by herself. Though i was very confident in the begining but now i am getting little worried as to whether i can handle such a huge responsibilty or not. Please guide.....

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 5 years ago from New York Author

Hi Nidhi

I don't know what to say to you. Every case is different. Not every mentally challenged kid is violent but you really need to know everything (all aspects of her life) before you take this step because if you do, there is no turning back. Get to know her ....her eating, bathing & toilet habits...her behavior with outsiders and family members, does she ever get violent and to what extent. Look...its you who has to make an informed decision so don't rely on anyones opinion. See and assess for yourself and ask yourself if you're ready and capable of handling such a huge responsibility because when you have your own children even then you'll be expected to care for her. That time you cannot freak least Indian families don't permit their daughters-in-law to chicken out. They are expected to be some super humans. Again think 10 times and make a decision ...for life. All the best!

Nidhi 5 years ago

Thanks anjali for sharing ur thoughts....

I know its a tough decision and i m freaking out in the begining only....

As far as she is concerned, i have met her several times but never had seen her violent. she has decent eating habits and behaves properly in front of others. Her mother takes care of all her daily stuff.... She goes to a special school. There is some speech problem which is improving... I knw this is a huge responsibilty... but i dont hav another option..

Also i need to know, whether these children do get violent wid time or are there some behaviour changes later in life... Also wat diseases affect these children later in life?? Please reply... as i need to make an informed decision..

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 5 years ago from New York Author

Hi Nidhi

About your concerns (changes in later life etc) I am not the best person to ask. Its better to consult a professional like a psychologist or a psychiatrist because they have experience in dealing with such individuals. They would be able to advise you properly. I'm sorry for not being of much help here.

Lilly 4 years ago

I HATE the title of this article. As if alienation of ANY HUMAN BEING should be a goal!

The title is GROSS and an affront to EVERY human being that cares for or has known a mentally handicapped person.

bailey 4 years ago

Not all disabled people are that way. My little sister has downsyndrome and she is an adoranble and sweat little girl. Disabled people shouldn't be alienated its just ridiculous!

Anita 3 years ago

I have lived my whole life with a sibling who is younger that is mentally challenged. Let me tell you I would be the first to defend him in a situation. But, I can attest that I have have seen him in action ruin my mother and my relationship even when I moved out of he house if I came to visit there was an immediate need On His part to interrupt the conversation. When my mother died I was his only relative to go and live with. He stayed with me for 5 years and I started to think about the possibility of my eventual death and I decided to place him In an assisted living home near me. First couple if years were good, then he started calling me demanding I take him out to eat and when I was not able to, I was cursed at and verbally berated. In the 6-7 years I had no one from the rest of he family ever make an attempt to go visit. Aunts and uncles. The only other person was my grown daughter who would take him out at times. Then I found out he sexually molested a daughter while he lived at my house. Instant pissed off and i could not even look at him I stayed away and I explained the situation to the director of the house. I reached out to my aunt and she has been taking him out now and he now has been pitting her against us and all the while enjoys the "game". He talks to the staff at his house and i am not sure how they handle it, but I have been getting phone calls that start out nice from him , then he starts a fight over the phone yelling at me for not coming to visit when he sees fit. I end up hanging up and blaming myself. I am tired I work, come home fix supper and i go to bed. On weekends it is cleaning errands and babysitting grandkids. I don't bring him around my grandkids as he has an awful foul mouth and I don't trust him around them. I am just venting! Don't know what to do, I feel I am terrible. But I finally have read where maybe I am not so terrible, and maybe just human. People judge you, but until you have lived it in my shoes; don't judge.

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 3 years ago from New York Author

@Anita: How can I judge you? Am I in a place to do that? Certainly not. Why? Because I've been there. That's why I thought of writing this article. This hub is pretty old but search engines do lead visitors every now and then to this hub. What can I say? If you have a person like this in your family you're simply stuck with him no matter how far you want to get away from him. I've not been able to find answers. I do sometimes let off the steam by venting my feelings on paper and online blogs. Thanks for reading and sharing your story.

snk 2 years ago

I grew up with aggressive, violent and emotionally and mentally stunted parents. I bore the brunt of their issues and instead of being cared for, I was the one caring for them. From the age of 5, I was also forced into the role of a surrogate parent when they had my brother. He also seems stunted in some ways. All 3 lack empathy, sympathy, compassion, kindness. They all know to act nice, but it appears to be a role they play simply to get on someone's good side when other ways have failed. I would laugh it off, if only I weren't so exhausted from caring for them and receiving not a drop of genuine kindness in return. I am aware they seem incapable of it, but that doesn't lessen the burdens I've had to bear because of who they are. There's just no telling when they'll turn on me. It's been insufferable, and the worst part is that none of them seem aware of the turmoil they cause(d) to me or to others.

I had to learn compassion from an unnaturally young age, most importantly for myself.

I wanted to train to become either a Psychiatrist or explore Arts, but because of interference from both parents in various ways, even having to turn down an acceptance from NIFT, I ended up training to be an allied health professional, but still get no real respect from them because it isn't the same as "a Doctor".

In spite of being the only person who really took care of each of them, I was always abused and treated with absolute lack of dignity. Every time it hurt me, I'd remind myself that they were retarded.

At 24, I got married to a gentle soul. The joy of being with him lasted a couple of months until I spent a week with my in-laws. Each of them, but especially his mother seemed emotionally and mentally retarded.

We've lived with some physical distance from them, but that didn't stop them from constantly interfering in various matters of our lives.

By 31, I'd completely burned out. I couldn't even bring myself to care for my patients. That's when I knew I couldn't deny any longer the toll that personally being around and caring for emotionally and mentally ill people had taken on me in every aspect of my life. I took a sabbatical from work and at this point don't think I could care for another adult anymore, in any capacity.

I have suffered physically, mentally and emotionally from playing full-time caretaker to my family of origin since birth and part-time caretaker to my husband's family of origin since marriage.

For a long while, I wondered if I was ill too. But time, experiences and experts have shown me otherwise, that I can trust my judgment, given the level of self-awareness I've developed over years of being around people who exhibit limited to absolutely no self-awareness. I still needed to heal from the trauma though, and from the PTSD it left me with. Over the last 5 years, I have put in much time, effort and various other resources towards healing myself from the direct abuse and from the aftermath of being around aggressive people for such a long time.

One of the things I can't seem to change or even want to change is that the compassionate person I used to be, no longer exists. I have not an ounce of love or care left for others, only anger towards parents and other adults who refuse to separate the sick child from everyone else because they lack the courage and oversight to do so. My maternal grandparents were aware of my mother's and my father's problems, yet they set them up for marriage (I come from a culture where arranged marriages used to be the norm). My parents were both aware of my brother's problems, yet they refused to shoulder any responsibility for setting up any structure for him to live within. For 30 years I suffered through being constantly told how to behave while he could have probably gotten away with even murder.

My husband's maternal grandparents were very aware of my MIL's problems, yet they set her up for marriage to my FIL and everyone has just stood by tolerating her nonsense all these years.

My stance is that just because someone is stunted doesn't mean they should be excused from being held accountable for their behavior and from being taught social and civic boundaries. Granted, it can be very hard, but that doesn't mean it's a step one can avoid without serious repercussions. If the parent(s) can't do it, allow an institution to do it, but unconditional love alone simply doesn't cut it, for any of the people involved.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    More by this Author

    • Connecting with the Dead (Paranormal Part-5)

      Is it possible to connect with the dead? This has been a grey area ever since the evolution of mankind. No matter how vehemently the scientists have denied the fact of reincarnation or rebirth, yet spiritualists, in all...

    • Energy and Aura - How to See Aura (Part 7)

      Make a person sit in front of a softly illuminated plain white background. A color background might change Aura colors and as such it can become a little complicated to identify the combination of colors. ...

    • Know Yourself - Why Am I The Way I Am !!

      Ever asked yourself one intriguing yet simple question….Why am I the way I am? Well, it might sound a bit crazy but, honestly, I’ve tried to figure out many times, the reason for my being the way I am. I...

    Click to Rate This Article