Parenting, in and of itself, is undoubtedly difficult. If you are one of those lucky parents that has the easy kids (and, by easy, I mean neurologically and behaviorally normal), it's hard to put yourself in someone else's shoes. Someone whose child or children don't behave or react normally.
Last week's multitude of events around here brought into high relief once again that the job of a parent with a kid with multiple issues is vastly more difficult. So, if you are on the inside looking out with me or on the outside looking in, here are some things I've learned.
1. You will lose most, if not all, your friends. It's often just too difficult to maintain relationships with people when your own child/ren behave outside the norm. Especially if your friends have "normal" kids. Most parents are super busy, trying to juggle a number of things. Adding to the mix the constraints your special needs child requires just makes outings, meals, get-togethers, etc. extra difficult. Sure, they may throw you a bone once in a while, but don't expect much beyond that.
2. You will be blamed. Unless your child has some obvious physical deformity, any behavioral issue will be placed squarely on the shoulders of the parents. It, of course, has nothing to do with the child's own inability to handle certain circumstances. It, therefore, must be the parent's poor job of raising that child.
3. Behaviors will be blown out of proportion. Any out-of-the-ordinary behavior will not be analyzed based on the child's underlying inability to handle a situation. No, other adults (even specialists), will assume your child's reaction or behavior means they will become a mass-murderer or is just plain dangerous.
4. Your other children will suffer. I generally get the old, "your daughter is gaining so much by learning to interact with your son". I just wish she didn't have to deal with any of the outbursts, whackings and limitations in pretty much everything we do.
5. You will be afraid. You will be afraid for your child. And, in some circumstances, you will be afraid of your child. This is probably the worst part - not knowing whether or not those behaviors will progress to something worse. The big problem is, you never know if those dimwits in #3 are right.
Do you have kids with special needs and, if so, do you experience something similar?