We live in a country where academic achievement is worshiped and where A’s are synonym of intelligence. One of the first questions a stranger asks another person is: “what school your son/daughter goes to?” in an effort to get to know what kind of child the person has and what kind of parent they are.
If the child in question happens to pass for a “prestigious” school, it means they are extremely smart and the parents are doing an incredible job. But if the child does not pass for a school of his/her choice, it is almost like there is shame on that…For the child and for the parent.
Parents of neuro-typical children of all ages love to talk to other parents how great their kids are doing. Whether they are studying at a University, got an amazing job or they just graduated with honors, parents are proud of their children’s accomplishments. It is only natural. Sometimes it goes a little too far though, when it becomes a competition with other parents rather than just being proud of their children’s success.
In other words, it ends up being about the other parents rather than their own child. A race that decides who is the best child and who has the best parents.
The greatest thing about all of us, parents of children with special needs, is that even though we are extremely happy with our children’s achievements (And we love sharing their accomplishments with other parents!) our world moves in a much slower pace than the neuro-typical world.
We never sign-up for races, but we sign up for journeys. But watch out, just like in the story of the Hare and the Tortoise, the fastest isn’t always the winner.
What about the ability of being you and not worrying about what other parents might think? You never feel inadequate or embarrassed next to another special needs parent. If your child has a sensory meltdown, the other parent understands. If your child is having a hard time eating or communicating, the other parent knows what is like.
And even though each one of our situations is unique, we all know special needs parenting isn’t a walk in the park. So the feeling of empathy comes from first-hand understanding.
So if you are caught in the sticky web of comparison, in the web of “what others will think if…” or maybe someone is making you feel small, inadequate for having a special needs child please take a deep breath and tell these positive affirmations to yourself daily:
I AM DOING AN AMAZING JOB WITH MY CHILD.
HE/SHE WILL SUCCEED.
I AM A GOOD PARENT DOING THE BEST I CAN.
Our world might not be considered as sparkly by others but WE create the world we live in; WE create the atmosphere our children live in.
Never, ever feel inadequate or that you are not good enough. You are more than enough. More than worthy and more than capable!
There will never be a need to compare our child or parent to any other special needs child/parent. Why? Because we are all in this together! We know what is like; we know the hard work it involves. Your success becomes my success. What your child accomplished today, my child might accomplish tomorrow.
Our sharing is never selfish or self-conceited; our sharing is about giving HOPE to another special needs parent.
Let me tell you, our world IS moving, slower but MOVING. We just need to pay closer attention *wink*.