Parents of typical children
Sometimes I can't help but find the parents of typical children irritating and upsetting for me to be around. I'm really ashamed that I feel this way so I just try to avoid them. I guess it hurts b/c they always seem to be bragging about their children--or at least it seems that way. Of course they do complain about their kids but for the most part they try to impress each other with what their kid can do and try to "one up" each other. I can't be a part of a conversation like that because my children can't compete. Even though I'm proud of the little things they accomplish I can't exactly say "wow, ds didn't stim much yesterday or he said goodbye to someone w/o being prompted or he made a poop on the potty even though he's almost 6!" It actually makes me feel like a failure as a parent even though I know It's not true--hopefully!
Family members occasionally illicit the same response. Tonight my sister-in-law was going on about how her 2-1/2 year old is talking up a storm and really blossoming. While I am happy for her, my 2 year old isn't really talking at all and she knows that my 5 year old is on the spectrum and my 2 yr old could be too. Sometimes I think she is being inconsiderate of my feelings and other times I believe she's just telling me what's happening. Anyway as she was talking I could feel the tears coming to my eyes and think to myself I'll never be 100% happy or content b/c my children are autistic. Sorry to vent but it's really getting to me tonight.
My heart has been stabbed at LEAST a million times in the same way. It has developed LOTS of scar tissue, so the pain is gone now. Sometimes I intellectually feel sad when I see 16yo's going for their driver's licenses or taking their girlfriends to a prom. The stab happens, but it doesn't hurt anymore, if that makes sense. This took years and years and years of feeling the pain, I am sorry to say. However, the pain lessened as time went on.
I think we parents of autistic kids have good reason to grieve. All any of us ever wanted was a normal kid. Is that too much to ask? No. But that doesn't mean we'll get one. We've all got the WONDERFUL kids we have. Sometimes I remind myself that my child will never get involved with drugs, my child will never get an STD or get his girlfriend pregnant (he is supervised way too closely and always will be, at least for the forseeable future). I don't have to spend tens of thousands of dollars a year on college (tho I sure would like to be faced with that). I don't have to put up with 4-letter words or the worry of how to keep him from smoking. I know these are poor compensations, but they're something. I try to look at the silver lining whenever the green head of envy pops up. It's not fair to my child for me to compare him to his neurotypical peers and find him lacking. Instead, I need to find him unique. Which he is.
But this flies in the face of human nature. We NATURALLY want our kids to be just like everyone else's. The fact is, our kids (and us through them) HAVE been gypped. That is why they are considered disabled. They lack certain normal abilities and it's OK to mourn that. At least I think so.
(((HUGS))) We all deserve some.
J&JsMom,I have experienced Both of the worlds you have talked about ,I lost my son at 16, After years of sickness and pain,In a wheel chair he never rode a bike ,played ball,took his first step,he was turned down for a wish and never had Money raised for his many treatment's I was bitter, sad and lonely for years.
Then I took control ,I started A Weelchair ,sport group ,parent support group,and met others Going through the same things we were.
When he died it was those friends who were there for us ,more than our family.
with my ds now ,who we Adopted 5 years after our oldest passed,we take each day as it comes,we morned his dx,then set out to teach others about him.
moreisee 1 ,God bless you and your family,hang in there ,find some support.
At 16 I had never had a boyfriend and I still can't drive. Doesn't mean I'm not happy and a lot has changed since I became an adult.
I don't mind seeing typically developing children and hearing how they are doing for the most part. But my father in law's girlfriend really makes me feel exasperated and angry. Every time we go round to her place (fortunately not often) she seems to take great delight in saying how well her grandchildren are doing, what they've accomplished, how early they were potty trained, how swiftly their communication and vocabulary developed. And she's saying this as our three and a half year autistic child doesn't understand one step instructions like "get your shoes" or to say "hello" to someone, or to call out to us when he's spilled his drink on his shirt.
But- as I have learned-you have to have balance.
I stay away from people I don't like- I don't judge them based on what type of kids they have. Being taken out of the inclusive sped environment when Jeremy was 6- means i was taken away from the sped parents, as well. I came to this state(VT) from NY - and I was forced to meet NT parents as there weren't a lot of Sped parents here in this school- and if they were around- there kids have different needs. To date- there is no one Jer's age or within a yr or two of his age with HFA in this school. The NT mom's may not have a kid with Autism- but believe me- in this small town- these mom's have other issues with their kids... you hear about every little thing- so it is probably safe to say that there are many issues with NT parents and their NT kids....wherever you are.
I would not trade places with most of the people i know i up with their NT kids.
I do know what you mean though- I just make it point to not hang with THOSE moms.
I probably have a different take on this. Probably because I have a lot of kids and most of them are NT. When another parent is bragging to me about their child's development or great things that they have accomplished It doesn't bother me in the slightest bit that they are bragging. It's human nature. If someone didn't brag about their child's development it would make me question why and then I would think that they are not talking much about their child out of pity for me and mine....And I DO NOT want that. Not for me and NOT for my son. There is no time or room in my life for anyone to feel sorry for me or my son. I NEED to hear and see other children's accomplishments because it gives me something to work on with Adam. Other kids his age are riding a two wheel bike and some are tying shoes....These are now our goals for this summer. When people brag about their child's development they are not doing it to hurt you or even being insensitive. They are treating the conversation the same way they would with any other parent that doesn't have a special needs child. I wouldn't want it any other way honestly...But that's just my opinion.
PS...does it hurt sometimes that other children can do things that Adam can not? Of course it does but it also makes the drive in me stronger to help my son.
Karriewell said karjab 30!Your feelings are completely common and understandable. We parents of
special needs kids are never going to receive the respect we truly deserve
from the "NT" world for all we have to deal with. Until someone has
walked in our shoes, they really just don't get it.
When I was initially in the throes of having my son diagnosed, I would get
extremely irritated with friends/neighbors who would complain about the
most mundane things. I wanted to scream at them, "you have nothing to
complain about.....my son may have autism and my world is unraveling.
I wish my only worry was whether or not my kid gets the right soccer
coach".....this was the type of stuff that would almost send me over the
edge. Of course, in retrospect, they couldn't have known what I was
going through on the inside, but the lesson I gleened from that
experience is that you really need to appreciate what you have and not
sweat the small stuff.
It's hard to ask friends/acquaintences not to talk about their kid's
accomplishments around you...it's human nature. And quite honestly,
they probably are completely clueless about the impact it might have on
you. However, I think it's perfectly legitimate to let family members know
that this is a sensitive issue with you and while you are happy with any
progress their children are making, it's hard for you to hear about it at
And yes, we do live in a society where one-up manship with kids as the
pawns is the norm. It's a sad state. In some ways, I'm glad I don't have to
play that game and really get to truly enjoy all my son's accomplishments
because I know how hard he works for every little success.
I totally understand how you feel. *Hugs* There are so many days I feel I can conquer the world and others when I just can't stop crying. I don't have many friends, most don't understand how I feel. I try to talk about the challenges I face and people say nothing to me. It confused me I use to think they didn't care, but now I feel its that they don't relate so they say nothing. I think they don't know what to say to me. As horrible as it sounds I was really jealous of a friend who's child passed away from cancer a few years ago. People ralled around her and her family, people helped raise money for cancer, they got to particpate in make a wish, she still has support in our circle of friends, she just got so much attention. I felt horrible for feeling jealously because here her child had died and mine is still alive and I should have been grateful. But I felt like I was in my own way mourning for my child, for the normal life he would never have and no one was doing anything to help me. I swear they need to offer some type of grief conseling after that diagnosis is made.
But being around regular kids is so hard for me. Its hard when a friend has a baby or there child hits a major milestone. I see kids my son's age playing soccer and going camping and I know he can't do those things. I'm hoping to go back to college this fall and right away I ruled out any majors in health care and education. I just wouldn't be able to handle it all with what I face at home each day. I felt like I would get burned out or would be to depressed all the time.
I'm not sure how a parent can come to terms with Autism, accept it and move on in life. I'm sure its different for every parent. Maybe some of us will, others won't. I think one thing that brings me comfort is that I know I am an exceptional parent. Most parents with regular kids couldn't do what I do everyday, and that can be very enpowering. Autism has made me very strong, confident, and a bit of a loud mouth B****, but that's good I think. I wouldn't have wished my kids to be to born to someone else. I look at them and think thank god I'm their mom. If they had been born to someone else who knows how miserable there lives might be. I'm happy that they are mine and that I can give them love and happiness.
I completely understand! My oldest and in some respects, my middle son (though not so much) hit all the milestones and did all the "great things" that kids do.
I have to say that my oldest is sooooo much more compassionate towards special needs children having a brother with autism. He drives me crazy at times, but other times I am so proud of him. He said he lost a few friends for defending a girl at school with Downs that was being made fun of, and he told his friends to stop! And they were upset with him.
My older brother has one daughter that is "perfect". And we now almost never talk. I think he just doesn't know what to say to me. One of the guys at work comes in and talks about things his 2 YO does, that are the same thing my almost 5YO is doing now, and it hurts.
I have one son with PDD-NOS and two NT (I think) DDs. My ASD kid has
some areas of weakness and some of strength and the times that I have
found myself bragging about any of my kids, it was usually about my DS.
Even before he was diagnosed. I have always known that he was somehow
different and always worried about him and when he does something well
I feel so proud and reliefed that I just have to bragg. When I hear other
parents bragg I wonder if it is because they have some fears inside about
how their kid is doing. Of course some parents are just obnoxious and
few kids as extensions of themselves.
[quote=Gail b] well said karjab 30![/quote]
Yes, it was, and I agree for the most part. That being said- consider the source. Your gut can tell when someone's comment was an innocent expression about their life or when there's some kind of mean-spirited dynamic that has been going on with a certain person for many years. There are sister-in-laws out there who have some kind of jealousy or axe to grind with a family, and really would have a conversation with you about their "normal" kids for the purpose of feeling superior to you, even if it was done subconsciously. It's a brilliant way for these kinds of people to act out aggressive impulses without accepting any blame or responsibility for those impulses. You see, if that person begins a conversation about a topic they are aware is painful to you, if you object to the comments or the tone of the conversation they can easily deflect any personal blame by saying it's your fault for being "too sensitive". The best way to handle those kinds of people is to not give them the satisfaction of feeling hurt or inferior, but realize their comments are about their own lives and not yours.
[quote=bullet]But my father in law's girlfriend really makes me feel exasperated and angry. Every time we go round to her place (fortunately not often) she seems to take great delight in saying how well her grandchildren are doing, what they've accomplished, how early they were potty trained, how swiftly their communication and vocabulary developed. And she's saying this as our three and a half year autistic child doesn't understand one step instructions like "get your shoes" or to say "hello" to someone, or to call out to us when he's spilled his drink on his shirt.[/quote]
This sounds like an example of a person who is not innocently sharing. This is the type of situation I would most likely directly confront, though I would do it calmly and with class, not angrily, to ensure she has no reason to deflect her blame and guilt back on to you.
There's also nothing wrong with being honest when someone is over-reacting because they can't find the right soccer coach, but you see how narrow that perspective is. There are sensitive ways to say, "Hey, can you imagine how that sounds to me when you know what I am facing?" Those kinds of people might really appreciate and admire you for helping them to have a wider perspective.
Afterthought- what's wrong with bragging because your six-year old used the potty? Or bragging about little accomplishments? Why not brag? Doesn't he have the right to his victories?
friends who all have NT kids, and even they sometimes forget to think about
what they are saying in front of me or my child. Those are the times I feel
You know, I have to say, I get irritated also. One thing that really irritates me is the grade thing at school. It is all about the grades. Success is based on the grade at school and I just hate this. My daughter has a cousin who is the same age as she and has made straight A's from day 1 of school. And believe me, they make a huge deal of how smart she is. I hate the comparison. So if you make straight A's your smart if you don't you are ......... (I don't like the reference for the unsaid). I tell my daughter this: some may agree and some may not. I tell her that everyone has a talent in a certain area of their life. For some this may mean making straight A's. But, just because someone makes straight A's it does not mean that they are smarter than you. They have a talent for making good grades. You have a talent in your art work. You are a wonderful artist. Your cousin has a talent for school work, and she should be aknowleged for it, but your talent is no less than hers. Your brother has a talent for computers. And he should be aknowledged for that.
In the defense of the nt parents, I was 34 years old before I had my first child and I had several neices and nephews. One of my neices was a straight a student and I was so proud of her. And I was probably guilty of telling one too many people(bragging). So here is what I think. Just because our children may not have the same kind of talents, they do have talents, they do have success and progression and we have to find and notate each one of these and celebrate and be just as proud as that parent with the nt child, and not begrudge the nt parent but celebrate our child's successes in the same mannerism and with the same vigor that the nt parent does. Although you may not get the same response from them, but in all fairness they have only their experiences to learn from.I really think it comes down to the people you give importance to in your life. I have two NT kids then my son(asd). My daughters would tell you I brag on him most. I have wonderful friends. All of which have NT kids. They brag. And I share their joy with them. They likewise share my joys in my asd son. It is funny but they brag about my asd kiddos accomplishments to others, just like he was there own kid. The people who say things to hurt or to belittle, well I just don't give those importance in my life. So there comments mean nothing. I have been fortunate. I receive so many complements on my sons behavior. He is 12. Sometimes, reading the posts that parents with younger children post, I am reminded of a rockier time. During those times I thankfully had a great support system. One parent remarked about starting her own support group. Kuddos! I suggest that for all. If you can't find a support system in family and friends find one outside of family and friends. Good luck! And don't let it get you down. We hear beauty from simple words other parents take for granted!I feel the same way. They have no idea because they haven't been around children who do have autism sprectum, altho I have to say as much as I have to learn from my 2 twins with autism; I have many challenges, I prefer to be around my children with their quote"DIFFERENCES" than average children!
I must have perfect friends because that doesn't bother me. I am grateful that their children are developing wonderfully.
The thing that bothers me is when people don't really nderstand Jaden and no matter what I say, i know they wont 'get' it. (But that isn't their problem)
And so I am very grateful for all of you, and my IRL friends that 'know' without words. And I am sad, too, that they know.
It is sometimes hard seeing other children accomplishing things that my son has not - and might not ever - but over time I am learning not to fault the parents for sharing. It helps to remember that there is almost always someone out there who has it far worse than we do - no matter how bad we think we've got it some days! So does that mean that I should not be proud of my son's accomplishments, or that I should keep them to myself? I hope not. Though I do recognize that there is a fine line, and it's important to be respectful of others' feelings, but sometimes that line is hard to see -- even amongst other parents of kids on the spectrum! At the end of the day, as Karrie said, I want others to feel comfortable being themselves and being honest about both the good and the bad - even if it hurts a little sometimes. It's not personal, it's just part of parenting I think. It also helps to remember that NT parents tend to share only the good and not much of the bad, though that doesn't necessarily mean they don't experience their fair share of both.
At the same time, if I sensed that someone was being deliberately insensitive, I would be sure to speak up.
"Until someone has walked in our shoes, they really just don't get it."
SO TRUE!!!! People do not understand. While hearing that another parents' child is "so advanced" used to bother me, it no longer does. I am happy for them. However, I am just as proud of Ali for only needing to be corrected 10 times in one day, for only having one mild tantrum she took control of, for saying she is sorry that she told em she hates me, for being able to pay attention for 3/4 of a dance class, etc.....all things that parents of NT kids seem to think is not such a big deal. That is what makes me mad. Many people I talk to that have NT kids seem awkward, dismiss my child's accomplishments, don't share in my excitement for Ali, etc. That is the hard part. I wish they would just listen and maybe ask questions about how her disorder affects her development and meeting milestones.
I have to be honest and say I was not always so sensitive to parents of children with disabilities....before I had one. I try to remember that when someone else is insensitive about Ali....they may just really not understand and may not be trying to be insensitive.
Parents always like to brag about their children. Some are tasteful when they do it and some are obnoxious.
Sometimes I have to laugh when its obnoxious.
I know its tough but don't let it get you down.
This was a really great thread. I enjoyed reading your posts! Thanks.
I'd rather hear them brag, than have them tiptoe around me ...
That said, my beautiful daughter was only 13 lb, at 12 mos. She was TINY. A coworker who is notoriously and deliberately abrasive started screaming t oour boss about how her grandchildrens "Are DWARFS! I am not kidding you! .... " On and on ... and this was within a week of her having met my daughter.
So, I know how you feel, but at the same time, it is better people act more natural about things ...