Ahhhh, what a trick. When someone is going through something so wholly different than we’ve experienced before, it’s hard to pluck up the courage to say something. What if it’s the wrong thing? What if it makes things worse?
As parents with disabled kiddos, this has undoubtedly been the case for our friends and family. And while the good intentions often shine through, we’ve all been on the receiving end of less-than-helpful (and sometimes downright painful) comments from our loved ones. In answer to this month’s question, parents give the tea on what comments make them cringe. And if you’re left feeling like you can’t win, don’t worry. We’ve got a good list of things parents love to hear.
It’s important to point out that these are the opinions are not representative of all parents. But there are themes that can point us in the right direction.
In reflecting on the responses and my own experience, I had a realization: Parents want their humanity acknowledged. And, we also want our children’s humanity acknowledged too. Most of the cringy comments about our superhuman capacity feel untrue. They don’t validate our struggle and human-ness. They make us feel “other”. The same goes for our children. They are diverse, wonderful humans who deserve interaction and love just like any other children.
So, as basic as it sounds, we just want you to realize that we are humans. And so are our kiddos.
Pro tip: Before speaking, ask yourself if it makes us or our children feel less or more than human. Yes? Rethink it. No? Then go for it!
When in doubt, validate our joy and pain, and then offer to do our dishes. 😉
A huge thank you for the dozens of parents that contributed to this amazing list! You rock!