People

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Exclusive

How Zach Roloff's Own Childhood Prepared Him to Be a Dad to a Son with Dwarfism: 'I Grew Up with Name-Calling'

Posted on

Zach Roloff‘s childhood wasn’t as easy as other kids.’

“I grew up with the name-calling,” the Little People, Big World star, 27, says in the current issue of PEOPLE of being born with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism.

“I look at my childhood and being a boy on the farm, it was a little tough because boys are very alpha-doggy and follow the pack. I was always chasing the back and way behind the pack. It was tough,” he says.

(Males with the genetic condition grow an average height of 4’4″ with a normal lifespan, and babies may have breathing problems and delays in muscle development.)

Now that Roloff is a dad to a newborn with achondroplasia, he hopes his own childhood can help him parent his son, Jackson Kyle.

Amanda Friedman

“You have to encourage a dwarf child a little more because it will take them five steps to do what others can do in two,” says Roloff. “But I knew, dwarf or not, I was going to parent my child with the mentality that not everyone gets a trophy. You have to earn it.”

But Roloff is glad the world is a little gentler than when he was growing up.

FROM PEN: Katherine Heigl Reveals the Emotional Way She Told Her Daughters She Was Pregnant

“The world is changing. People are more open to diversity,” says the reality star and soccer coach, who hopes nothing will impede Jackson from achieving his dreams. “Whatever he wants to do, we’re going to find a way to help him do it. That’s our job in life now.”

He knows having achondroplasia will make Jackson’s life tougher, but “it’s part of the whole package of who he is. He’s happy and healthy. That’s all that matters.”