Special Needs Parenting: How I Feel When You Brag About Your Kids

I recently asked friends and blog readers if they’d be comfortable sharing some questions they had for someone in my situation, but might be a bit uncomfortable asking.  The question that was by far the most asked, comes from a very kind place – and actually wasn’t one I had expected:

“When I talk about the successes of my (typically developing) child, do you wish I’d stop?  Does it get to be too much?”

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My girls with the kiddos of some of my besties.

To put it very simply: no.

I might get a little jealous sometimes. There is no denying that. But I would be far sadder to find out that you weren’t sharing the joys of raising littles with be because you were worried about making me feel that my family wasn’t up to par.  I too am very proud of my daughter(s) and like to brag about their achievements. And besides, I love your kids.

Okay, maybe I don’t even know your kids – but if you are a friend of mine, I immediately care about them and want them to do well by association. If you aren’t a friend of mine, I still care about and want your child to be successful, because children are awesome. Children are sweet and innocent until the rest of the world gets a hold of them. Children are a product of the environment we create for them.  Not to get all Whitney Houston on you, but children are the future.  We live in a world where people do a lot of really awful things to each other, and the only way to escape this is to raise human beings who are kinder and wiser than ourselves.

This question is tough, because the answer might be very different based on the child, on the parent, on the family’s position along the journey toward acceptance.  It even arises among those in the special needs community – I have been in meetings with other parents before, to look across the table and realize I’m venting about my daughter’s slow speech progress to someone who has never heard their child utter a single word.  We all have different struggles.  My advice is to know your audience – if they aren’t the open book type, pay attention to their reactions and it will probably be pretty clear whether or not they want to hear more.  If they are a close friend, just ask – I can only speak for myself.

So please keep sharing stories of your child’s successes with me – I want to hear how they are saying full sentences at one and a half and how they were potty trained in one weekend. I hope your child loves to learn.  I hope your child is caring.  I hope your child is happy and considerate and open minded and accepting of other people.  And I hope they are so smart that they change the world.  Who knows – maybe they’ll even figure out a cure for trisomies.

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Fun at the park with friends.

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What are the Uncomfortable Questions?

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I have a neighbor who thinks everyone is on this earth for a specific reason. While I’m not sure I agree, I do appreciate her outlook  – and that she was willing to tell me what my reason was 😉 My blog. 

It used to be a lot easier for me to write. My emotions were totally out of check, and writing gave me a way to deal with them. I’m thankful I don’t feel as lost as I used to, and want to use RockingLion as a platform for broader conversations about living with special needs (although I’m sure there will still be the occasional emotion-riden post ;-)). Why do I want to do this? Because people are afraid of things they don’t understand. So if I talk about my family’s special condition, how our life is a little different, then maybe people will understand a little bit more. Maybe they won’t be afraid. Maybe the next time they’re at the playground and see a child who is a little bit different, they’ll think “I bet that kid is like Teagan – I bet they like to play and make new friends.”

Okay, so to get to the point: I’d like to know what people want to know about. What are the questions you have but are uncomfortable asking. I’d love it if you’re willing to share!! Comment, or send me a private message via fb if that feels more comfortable. I’ve never been insulted by a question – assumptions, yes, but never a question.

In my attempt to get reenergized about blogging, I’ve asked a few of my besties the question I just asked you. A few examples they’ve given, that I’m excited to write about at some point:

  • When I talk about the successes of my typically developing child, do you wish I’d stop?  Does it get to be too much?
  • How do you want me to talk to my child about yours?
  • Do you like people asking about how therapy is going and where she is on her disabilities?

Have any to add? If so, I’d love to hear from you!