If you are looking for 30 things parents with special needs children don't want to hear you say, then you have come to the right place!
When I wrote the post 65 THINGS PARENTS DON’T WANT TO HEAR (INCLUDING BAD PARENTING ADVICE) I thought I had adequately covered the bulk of comments and unsolicited advice that parents were tired of hearing from strangers, family and friends.
And then it hit me that parents of children with special needs were inundated with a completely different set of comments that we would much prefer not to hear from others who may not properly understand our circumstances.
HERE ARE 30 THINGS PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS DON’T APPRECIATING HEARING
1 – Your child doesn’t look like they have any issues.
2 – He/she looks so normal.
3 – Special needs kids are given only to special parents.
4 – Remember God only gives us what we can handle.
5 – I couldn’t handle that.
6 – I feel so bad for you.
7 – I’m sorry.
8 – I can’t imagine how you deal with that.
9 – It could be worse, you know,
10 – Are you sure the doctors are right?
11 – You should get a second opinion.
12 – Is that a real diagnosis?
13 – Maybe the doctors are making it worse.
14 – How did your child get it?
15 – Is it contagious?
16 – Maybe they will grow out of it.
17 – Have you tried this therapy?
18 – Have you tried this cure?
19 – Couldn’t you send your child to a group home?
20 – Can’t you just control your child?
21 – Maybe they need to be disciplined better.
22 – You aren’t going to have more kids are you?
23 – It must be hard being disabled.
24 – Is he/she retarded?
25 – I know exactly how you feel.
26 – My child does that too.
27 – What will he/she do after you die?
28 – What will he/she do instead of college?
29 – How will you cope if they die?
30 – Any general questions when our kids are within earshot (be respectful – most children can hear exactly what you are saying and don’t appreciate being discussed as if they are a guinea pig!).
HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN SAY INSTEAD TO A PARENT OF A CHILD WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
1 – How can I support you?
2 – Tell me how I can help.
3 – Let me mind your kids for a few hours so you get a break.
4 – I’m here for you.
5 – I’d love for you to explain your child’s diagnosis.
6 – What’s the best way to explain their diagnosis to my kids?
7 – How is he/she going?
8 – How are you doing?
9 – How can I better prepare for you to visit?
10 – What does your child love to do?
11 – What therapy has really made a difference in your child’s life?
As a parent of a child with special needs myself (my son has a degenerative neuro-muscular disease) I can wholeheartedly admit that life is sometimes harder raising a child with special needs.
Who am I kidding?
Life is always a bit tougher.
But that doesn’t mean our lives aren’t beautiful.
That doesn’t mean we don’t regular experience joy or love in our life.
To the contrary our capacity to love and feel compassion for others has grown in ways we never thought was possible – purely as a result of our circumstances.
To us, our lives are normal – just a different sort of normal.
We live our days with purpose and passion and strength, because that it is only way to survive when you have hurdles to constantly jump over.
It is a gift to be able to burst the bubbles of judgment and ignorance of others.
It is a blessing to know that you can create a strong mindset of resilience when others assume it would be easier to crumble or fall apart into pieces.
Sure life is sometimes difficult and we are forced to face invisible barriers that the majority of people are blind to but hey…
Our kids are worth fighting for.
They deserve and have the same innate right to happiness and opportunities in life too.
The best way to make this happen, without drama or tears, without struggle and conflict, is for other parents who are standing outside this invisible box we find ourselves in, to step inside and show us some kindness and compassion.
Or even better, we would appreciate a helping hand to lift us up so we don’t have to live alone inside this invisible box.
Parents of children with special needs definitely don’t want to feel isolated or stay locked into any type of box or stereotype that separates them from the rest of society in life.
I would also like to point out to the world that there is a difference between pity and compassion.
Pity is a self-serving feeling of superiority aroused by the suffering and misfortune of others.
When you pity someone you may feel obliged to help but it is out of a feeling of guilt.
What people don’t realize is that pity can sometimes worsen the individual’s feelings of sadness and lead to depression.
Most people do not want to be pitied because they find it insulting and belittling.
Compassion, on the other hand, is a feeling that is basked in love and comes from a deep awareness and pure, genuine desire to want to help others.
It is distinct from pity because it is driven by an individual’s desire to help alleviate another person’s suffering or misfortune.
Pity is feeling sorry for someone and then turning your back and pretending you don’t see them anymore.
Compassion is kind, loving and noble.
Compassion creates a bridge between communities.
It leaves no man or family standing alone on the other side.
It leaves NO CHILD with special needs behind.
And that is where families with special needs kids want to be – right there with you.
Included with and not separated from the rest of the world.
That my friend is the true definition of compassion.
If you have a child with special needs and would like for them to be more resilient check out the following course: