Psychosocial Experiences of Parents With Mentally Retarded Children (The Case Of Six Families In Addis Ababa)

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Addis Ababa University


This study explores the social and emotional experiences of parents with mentally retarded children. Six mentally retarded children and their respective parents were the main subjects of the study. Interview guide was used for data collection. The data was presented in a descriptive form and analyzed qualitatively. Two parents quarrelled with their neighbors and other two parents also quarrel with their spouses because of their mentally retarded children. Siblings of the mentally ,. retarded children complain for being disfavored by their parents. Mentally retarded children deprive 3 of the parents of attending social activities outside home, and the parents are penalized as a result. The news that their children are mentally retarded makes parents experience such feelings as: shock, grief, anger, fear, worry, hopelessness, helplessness and acceptance of the fact. Four of the six parents accepted the reality immediately. The parents vary in their coping. Parents' social and emotional experiences are partly interdependent. However, they are not seen as functions of severity of the disability and sex of the children except that mothers of 2 of the 3 female children are anxious that their children may be raped. The children's improvement, counseling and supports that the parents get help the parents in the coping. Therefore, the children should get education so that they would improve. The society at large and ,family members also should be enlightened as to what mental retardation is and have positive attitude towards mentally retarded children and their parents and be supportive



Mentally; Retarded; Children