Parents Need Support Too

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In our Instagram-driven world, there’s little room for messiness, for struggle, for imperfection that’s not solved with the next fad diet, book, or TED Talk.

We see other people and their amazing kids who seem to have it all together, never yell, never fight, excel in sports, music, school… they have it all figured out, right? And it’s because they have some kind of parenting magic.

We see the special needs parents, the saints who sacrifice themselves for these precious kids, who advocate and fight for their children to see that they get the care and services they need. We celebrate with them and begrudge them nothing.

And then…

… where do we fit?

Our kids are hard. They have special needs, but they’re also amazing high fliers who blow their same-aged peers out of the water.

Perfect parent can talk to you about enrichment opportunities and book choices, but they have no patience for your kid’s executive function struggles, and

Special Needs parent is an amazing resource for the behavioral challenges but disconnects when you start talking about acceleration and advanced academic options.

Where do we fit?

Just like it’s important for our kids to find people who are like them, “get them”, accept them for who they are, we parents also need to reach out and join forces with others who know we’re not crazy, who have similar struggles and don’t automatically attribute your child’s breakdown to bad parenting.

For me, Facebook has been a life-giving place, especially a few groups like the Raising Poppies Group run by My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Learners pages, and more recently both Hoagies’ Gifted and Gifted Homeschoolers Forum have started discussion groups as well.

It’s important that we find safe places – and people – in person as well as online — who listen without condemnation and then respond, “been there. I know what you’re talking about.”

We might even find some valuable help along the way.

This morning, something similar happened. I shared with another mom how a couple of my kids calm down much quicker if they lie down and explained a bit of the physiology behind that.

My openness freed her to share about her daughter’s struggle, because she knew she wouldn’t be judged, and I could show her another trick I had learned through my research that might be helpful.

The entire interaction took less than 5 minutes, but we both walked away feeling supported, heard, and hopeful.

It takes work to find those safe people, but it’s worth it.

This post has been part of the April 2019 Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hop about the Power of Belonging.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Can you just be my neighbor? That’d be awesome. I think about these things often. Not always sure where we fit and always thankful for the rare opportunity to find someone who gets my kids. Loved this post!

    Like

    1. Heather says:

      Yay! That sounds amazing. We can dream, right?!?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this! My favorite is the parenting equation. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone as a parent.

    Like

    1. Heather says:

      🙂 Glad you liked the equation. I wondered if people would be bothered that it didn’t add up to 100, especially in this math-loving community!

      >

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha!
        It totally would bother people.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great points about how hard it is for parents to find support. There are so many things most parents can share, but parents of gifted or 2e kids often feel they must remain silent, or are told they have no right to complain. It is so important to find support and a place to belong!

    Like

    1. Heather says:

      Thanks, Gail! Parent guilt is real, and we’re so aware of other people’s perceived opinions that we hide from the very community we need!

      Like

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