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Parenting experts are everywhere.

May 16, 2013

experts

I can’t believe how many parenting experts there are wandering around in real life and the internet!  WOW!  So many people have answers for everything from how to get your child to eat, to how to get your child to behave in public.  I have learned that the only thing I’m an expert on is my own children and even then I’m still trying to figure out what to do.   I have found  that people who want to give you their “expert” opinion about parenting, are more interested in making a judgmental statement about what I/we are doing then trying to help.    We have had comments flung our way about how we handle our son.  Everything from rude comments when he’s having a meltdown and we are trying to get him out of the situation… to snide comments because we have him in a shopping cart, or on a leash, or in a stroller because he bolts or wanders off.    One of my favorites was when I had him on a leash (cute ducky backpack so nothing like a dog harness)  and a woman walking past us commented that in her day she just had to walk next to her mother there was no need for having a “kid on a dog leash”….. Yes…… without knowing a darn thing about my situation she felt completely justified to make that kind of comment.   What makes it ok to make those kinds of comments? Did that woman think she was helping me out?  Like.. Oh WOW!  You are so right… let me take this off him and everything will magically be perfect and my son will walk next to me without running away!!!!  AWESOME!   Autism has taught me that every child is completely different no matter if they are on the spectrum or not.  What worked for someone with their children will most likely NOT work with my child.   Some days  I can feel so beat up by these so called experts.  I shouldn’t let it get to me. But my fiery personality gets the best…. and yes I have “corrected” (or you can read that as yelled) at people who feel the need to share their superior parenting skills.  Does that make me any better than them?  Maybe not.  But it makes me feel better at the time and if I can make that person think before they open their mouth again to another parent, well good.

experts puzzle

Here is why this is on my mind…..  I have been effected to the core by a news story about a little girl named  Mikaela Lynch.  It’s terrifying to think that in 2 minutes your child could wander away and be gone forever.  I live with that thought ALL THE TIME.  With this sad, heart wrenching story, out of the woodwork comes all the parenting experts bashing this family, blaming them, piling on… On one hand we (parents of autistic children) can be perceived to be over-reactive, over-protective parents.  THEN when something like this happens, people blame these parents because they took their eyes off their child for 2 minutes.  IF IF IF IF IF.. yes.. If…and they will live the rest of their lives with that IF hanging over their heads.  THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.  You know what I wish?  I wish people would start being experts in kindness and understanding.  Instead of being judgmental.  Instead of rolling their eyes because a child is having a melt down.. how about smiling at that child’s mother.  Instead of making comments about what your mother did, or what you did with your child, how about trying to figure out why that parent is doing what they are doing.  NO ONE is perfect.  You maybe an expert on raising your own child, but you have no idea about raising mine.  Think before you speak or comment or write….  Because you might only be an expert on putting your foot in your mouth.

how-to-find-expert-advice

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4 Comments
  1. I know exactly how you feel. My son with ASD turns 4 on Saturday. I get the looks when he’s in the cart or I use the leash (ours is a monkey). People just look and stare. Thankfully, no one has had the misfortune (yet) trying to correct me! I’m also terrified about him eloping in public. My son is just beginning to be verbal. If someone asked him his name, they wouldn’t understand what he says. He wouldn’t be able to tell anyone ANYTHING and it scares the heck out of me. I feel your pain. Continue to fight the good fight-they are so worth it!

    • I once had to explain to a mom of a child that wasn’t autistic why I had to hold my son’s hand everywhere… she had no idea about the wandering, bolting, eloping issues! I think it might be my calling to explain it to anyone that feels the need to give me ‘advice’…. I’m sure you will do it too! 🙂 Hold your head up high and know that you are educating that person, and the people around them too. And you couldn’t be more right… they are so worth it! ❤

  2. I’m ok with everyone thinking they know everything, but why do they think they have the right to share their wisdom with me ( a perfect stranger ). Tell them to go home and write a book….. and jump off a cliff with it!

  3. Just found your blog. Love how you share your heart because I know it helps you and others.

    Our son is 33 and has Down syndrome and autism. Believe me, I’ve heard every sort of parenting advice, comment and expert opinion out there over the years. It’s amazing how much people “know” about something they don’t really have a clue about, even some of the professionals.

    I’ve also seen plenty of kindness and grace extended; people who don’t pretend to know but are willing to encourage, ask questions and become informed. Then there’s the special few who are show up to help take a bit of the load off and those who tell me what a great job I do for what I’ve been assigned.

    I have become intentional in dwelling on those positives and ignoring the negative. There will always be both and as parents of special needs children who have behavior issues we MUST choose everyday to stay positive. For our own peace of mind and our child’s sake let the naysayers go. It’s a discipline that takes much prayer and practice but is so liberating and worthwhile in the long haul.

    Blessing to you fellow sojourner! God be with you as you travel on this unique road.

    If you’re interested you can read my thoughts at aplacecalledspecial.blogspot.com 🙂

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