I just met you, and actually we have shared about 4 minutes of time together. You mention something about your children. I say I've got kids too. You mention the school your kids attend. I mention mine. I get a curious look about both the schools my kids attend, so I explain that one attends a tiny private school in the South East and the other attends a special needs school in the other direction. Immediately you tell me how amazing I am. I am offended even faster.
I get it, I want to change it!
According to the way our society conditions us, special needs / disabilities are bad.
What I hear when you tell me how amazing I am as a parent without knowing anything at all about me (I mean seriously, I could be the worst parent in the world, being a parent of a special needs child doesn’t qualify me to be a fantastic parent at all), I hear that you think my child couldn’t be loved. Or that YOU couldn’t love a child with any additional needs. HOLD ON! Have a think about what you just said. Why would you say this to me? You think my child is horrible and I’m incredible for loving her? It’s just a STUPID, such a stupid thing to say.
There are more things similar about us than there are different.
You love your children, I love mine
You love your children no matter what, I love my children no matter what. Both my kids are different to each other, both have different likes, wants, talents and personalities, I bet yours do too. See, we are the same.
We probably have some different challenges, but that’s ok. Everyone has something going on in their lives, we can’t change that. Would I tell Cerebral Palsy to fu*k off if I could, YES, I bloody would. But it wouldn’t change my parenting skills, it wouldn’t change my love for my children. It would just mean she didn't have CP.
Stop telling me I’m a fantastic parent because I have a child with special needs. It’s stupid and confusing. Not to mention RUDE.
You don’t know anything about my parenting skills. What if I am in actual fact a terrible mother? You can’t know anything about me in 4 minutes of conversation about the schools my kids go to. You are offending me.
I don’t need your approval. I don’t need you to tell me anything about my parenting skills, I’m not telling you anything about yours, how could I, we just met. I don’t know what you do behind closed doors, what if you beat your children or are abusive in other ways? How could I possibly know that about you in 4 minutes of conversation, how could you know anything about me?
I adore my kids, both of them. They fulfil me, don’t yours do that? Isn’t that just how it is for parents? how is that any different to you?
Please think before you speak. Special needs parents are JUST PARENTS
I spend most of my time being happy. Don't you?
I don't spend my entire day feeling down and unfortunate that I got some bad deal or something. OMFG. I feel fantastic. I really, really, really love my wonderful family. Don't you love yours the same?
My child with special needs is just as loveable as yours without and it's so completely disgraceful that you'd think otherwise.
Next time you meet a parent of a child with special needs, behave the same as you would meeting any parent of any child.
I know you aren't trying to offend me, but you do!
It's interesting. A few years ago, this happened to me too, an acquaintance said to me how wonderful a parent I am, and I kept wondering what they'd heard about me from other mutual friends, it was confusing, but I thought she must have some knowledge about me that was positive. It did make me feel uneasy though.
It took me months and months to figure it out. She was only saying that I was a great parent to me because she feels that she couldn't love a child with any additional needs, so I must be a hero. YEP, that’s me.. a hero for loving my child.. makes sense.