screenshot of IFS blog post with a graphic of a teen with Down syndrome wearing headphones and text from post caption

IFS | The Sometimes-Painful and Always-Beautiful Gift of Raising a Teen with Down Syndrome

Is it different raising a teenager who has Down syndrome than a typical teen?

Well, yes and no. I had a chance to write about this for the Institute of Family Studies this week. Here’s an excerpt: 

Penny is a teenager who is going through the physical and emotional changes and challenges of adolescence. She is growing in independence but still needs support. She accepts and wrestles with the fact that she has Down syndrome. And here again, our role as parents is to listen and love. To be present in offering direct support and prayer and help selecting a Homecoming dress that will fit. To be present in offering indirect care by snuggling up on the sofa and making a photo album together.

In and among all these areas of sometimes-painful and sometimes-beautiful (and sometimes both) growth, Penny is a teenage girl, one with Down syndrome, who needs her parents to love her and support her and resist the desire to smooth out all the rough patches of life for her.

For more, go here.

Two other things:

One, I also had a chance to talk with my friend Patricia Clarke on her podcast this week about the gift of having a child with Down syndrome and the way Penny has invited me to become more like her (listen here).

And two, I did read through this essay with Penny to make sure it held true to her experience as well.

More with Amy Julia:

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