Five Things Children May Want to Tell Their Parents About What They Really Need

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Praise me.
Spend more time praising me when I do something right rather than solely scolding me when I do something wrong. Praising me when I do well teaches me that you are paying attention. I learn that positive choices mean positive results and I have the ability to make others happy by my good choices.

Let me spend time independently.
Don’t hover over me. Let me wander around a safe environment. I need to learn that I can do things on my own and feel the accomplishment of doing things independently.

Allow me to fail.
I need to know life isn’t always fair. I know you love me but let me fail so I can learn to try again and not give up. I will grow faster than you realize and I need to be able to graciously accept defeat when necessary and know failing isn’t the worst thing that can happen to me.

Remind me that you are looking out for me.
Remind me to zip up my coat, clean my room, and do my chores. Keep after me because I expect you to. Be my parent first and then my friend. I will have a lot of friends in my childhood years but you will be my longest friend, just give me time to grow and realize it.

Love me.
Make sure I know you love me, even when I fail, refuse to listen, or disappoint you. I’m not perfect. I will never be perfect but your love for me through anything feels pretty perfect.

*d*

Parent’s Cheat Sheet for the Newly Diagnosed

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My son will be seven in a couple weeks and I can’t decide if I have a harder time accepting how fast he has grown or realizing how long he has struggled. My son was diagnosed with an incurable disease as an infant and it was a very scary time for us. I thought I would write myself a cheat-sheet as the mother of a newly diagnosed child:

* You don’t have to have all the answers right now.
I know it feels like you should but deal only with the issues right in front of you. Ask the questions but don’t overwhelm yourself. There will be time to become an expert, but it won’t happen in one day.

* Take what you learn while researching lightly.
No child is the same. There are worst case scenarios for every illness, but don’t assume the worst until you must. Again, deal with the here and now.

* Do not be afraid to make a phone call to your child’s physician.
I once was hesitant to call my son’s neurologist but I got over it. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone, even if it’s to ask additional questions. Medical staff really are there to help.

* Buy a notebook.
The first year of post-diagnosis is a blur. It will be hard to remember everything. Write down what you feel is important. It will come in handy during doctor’s appointments. Also, write down all your questions before those appointments. Until you get the hang of your new normal, life will be chaotic.

* Speaking of papers, you may want to organize a place for paperwork.
Life in a few years will be full of paperwork. These documents can be a lifeline of valuable information. DON’T LOSE THEM!

*Get in contact with your local county funded board of disabilities.
Head Start and the local health department are also good places to contact. There are many people and programs designed to help children facing life altering illnesses. You may also want to speak with a social worker at the hospital.

* Love your child.
I know this may sound silly to say but sometimes the addition of a diagnosis can make you feel distant from your child. He or she is the same child they were before you learned of this reality. A child can feel a difference even if they are not able to verbalize it. Affection speaks it’s own language and it’s understood by all.

*Feeling distant from your child is normal and you are not a bad parent.
There will be days where you will feel like you can no longer relate to your child and you may wonder if you still love him/her. I assure you, you still love your child and you will experience a love deeper than you have ever imagined.

* Life doesn’t end here.
Right now, it feels like the life you knew is over. Yes, you will morn. This too is normal. The loss of a healthy child is real and you need to take your time to work through the grieving process.

*Life is now about taking one day at a time.
This was the hardest reality for me to face. I could no longer dream of tomorrow because every day with disability and disease is about getting through today.

* Do not limit your child.
Some may disagree but you child has great potential. Even if your child is severely disabled, he or she can teach you great things.

* The sooner you let go of the guilt, the better.
Guilt does not change reality. Replace guilt with determination. Every time you feel like you are not doing enough, resolve to try harder.

* You don’t have to be strong for anyone, except your child.
There will be times when your child will look at you with fear in his or her eyes. At those moments, you must be ready to say, “I’m here and everything will be alright.”

* You are this child’s hero and you will be their champion.
You are stronger than you know and you will do great things, even when you feel like you are failing. You will be a soft place to fall, a source of strength, and a light for your child in dark times. You may feel at your weakest now, but your courage is about to be unleashed.

* Speak up and speak out!
You have this child for a reason, find it and fulfill it! Use your voice and don’t feel bad about it.

* This just may revive your hope in others.
You will experience compassion and understanding from many people. You will have a rare and special opportunity to see how much love is in this world.

* Don’t be afraid to reach out.
There are resources and people waiting to help. You are not weak by asking for help. You now have a very heavy responsibility.

* It’s never too late for a new start.
There have been days I would rather forget. Some days are extremely difficult but there is always a chance to try again. Regardless of what happens in a day, you can always step back, take a breath, and work for the better.

* You won’t always feel this bad.
I know it may be hard to believe right now but it will get better.

* Blow bubbles, sing silly songs, and laugh with your child.
Smiling won’t be a cure but it will help heal your heart!

There will inevitably be days when you will feel like life is unfair and you are powerless to change it. Remember, you are not alone. There are many parents experiencing the same thing. Most of these parents will tell you how they have been transformed for the better because of the journey in which you are now about to embark. You will see life more clearly and love more selflessly. You will see life through the eyes of a special needs child, and it is life changing.

*d*

Thirty Lessons From a Special Needs Parent

A few events today had me thinking about the following post. I had originally posted this on my personal Facebook page and I thought I would share it here. I haven’t been a special needs parent for very long but it has certainly changed me in a short period of time.

1: Patience is needed and taught on a daily basis.

2: “Slow to anger” is an important saying that does wonders when practiced.

3: Someone should never be judged based on their disease and/or disability.

4: Never judge someone if you are not coping with their problems.

5: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

6: Whispers, stares, and gossiping about a situation that can’t be helped, hurts.

7: Difficulty teaches compassion.

8: We want to help but are often hindered by our circumstances.

9: Guilt is a part of every day life.

10: Depression is real and is felt a lot more often than we want to admit.

11: Help is not requested as often as it’s needed. It seems important for others to think we aren’t falling apart.

12: We stay at home and shy away from gatherings if we know it will cause stress all around.

13: Choosing a baby-sitter is a big deal, thus we don’t go away as often as we would like.

14: We appreciate the opinions of others but rarely take advice from those who spend very little time with our child.

15: We need and love support, support, support.

16: We rarely want sympathy. We just want someone to talk to. It helps us unload some of our burden.

17: We want to know about your family and notice when you stop reaching out to ours. We realize our life seems depressing, but it is ours.

18: Our hearts break a little when we see others doing things we know we may never be able to do.

19: Negative people and opinions hurt, we are doing the best we can.

20: Love reaches deeper than we ever expected.

21: What seems like a burden to others, is a blessing to us.

22: We are sad when others refuse to see the joy our children bring to our lives.

23: We have seen more compassion and love from others through our difficulty than we ever expected and it’s humbling.

24: Celebrate the little things.

25: Choose the battles that really count.

26: We worry about losing our spouse profoundly more than other people. We know how difficult it would be to raise our children alone.

27: We no longer measure great achievements by the world’s standards.

28: Some of the best friendships we have made are forged through a common bond.

29: With each struggle we become stronger.

30: Our journey has helped us love the differences we see in others.

If given the choice, we would not choose a disease or disability for ourselves or for our children but we have been blessed by the difficulty it has brought us. We know what it means to make every day count and we understand why each day must be appreciated.

*d*

The People of Facebook

We all know one or more of these folks and we’re probably guilty of being a few too. There’s other lists like this out there, but this our take on the community of the social media giant and sucker of productivity.

The Stalker

They claim they’re never on FB but in reality, they’re always watching, checking in on any number of their 3,735 friends. They never comment or like, but they always know about your breakup or new job. These types don’t even have to be your friend to keep tabs on what you’re doing.

Stalking

The Snob

This variety of Stalker is constantly on FB but regularly posts and states that they’re too good for it—all while continuing to browse fellow Facebookers’ pages.

The Delinquent

Their posts are often scandalous and always accentuate their incredibly dysfunctional lives. They’re often spotted in underage drinking pictures and giving peace signs or “gang” signs in bathroom mirror selfies. Can be confused/interchanged with the Partier.

The Partier

Every picture on their profile and those that they are tagged in are drinking pictures. Drinking in someone’s garage. Drinking at the bar. Drinking in the car (Don’t confuse them with The Genius’s). Drinking by themselves.

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The Genius

They give everyone a play-by-play of their lives and often have their profile’s set as public. Because who really understands internet security? They often tell everyone where they are eating or shopping as they arrive, perhaps as an open invitation for friends, relatives, murderers, robbers, etc. to join them. These people are also likely to board a plane for an exotic vacation and publically announce that their house is unattended and will be for several days.

Social Cockroach

Unlike the easy-going, likeable Social Butterfly, the SC is going to be your friend whether you like it or not. It’s as though they have a quota to reach or they’re in a competition with someone over the number of “friends” they have. Delete them after a year of not interacting? Who’s that friend request from? That’s right. Somehow, they knew you disappeared from their growing friends list and they’re trying to put a stop to your escape. Just like cockroaches, their insecurities existed before you were friends, and they’ll exist long after you’re not.

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The Unfiltered

Nothing’s a secret. Their feelings. Their opinions. Their test results. Their latest trip to the bathroom.

Selfie Whore

These compliment fishers use their faces as bait. They’re likely to have 5000 photos in multiple untitled albums of their mug in slightly different positions. From a pouty duckface to a “sexy” smile, they can be counted on to give you enough images of their face to put together a flip-book where it looks they’re frowning, making a peace sign, then smiling and back again.

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The Police

These users logon and openly judge everyone else. They, of course, are infallible.

The AssHat

This person can find something nasty and scathing to say about everything. It’s as though someone ruined their FB experience at some point and they feel it is their mission to ruin it for everyone else.

Like Lover

It doesn’t matter if you’re posting that you just passed The Bar Exam or that your dog died, the LL is on that like button faster than their newsfeed can reload. They think they’re being supportive, but really they just come off as easily impressed and a little insensitive. Come on. Who “likes” a sad post about a deceased pet? It’s possible that the Like Lover is just too lazy to comment on things and clicking “like” is the easier method of informing everyone that something has their approval.

Enabler

Do you have a new boyfriend every week but know it’s not you, it’s definitely him? Do you post redundant, out of focus, filtered selfies every few hours in groups of no less than 30 pictures? Do you have a drinking problem that everyone knows about and still post about your wild weekend and how you’ll do better to stay sober next weekend? Well, the Enabler probably just liked every last one of your posts.

The Gullible

They think that sharing a post can somehow generate money for a small, ill child in a picture (who is probably in their 20’s by now) or that they will win prizes for sharing statuses of shopping websites. They often induce panic amongst the other Gullibles with their posts of false news stories. No research is ever done before a link is shared as gospel because if it’s on the internet, it has to be true. The Onion wouldn’t make things up.

The Baby

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These individuals post endlessly about how bad life is treating them as any given moment. You can almost envision their faces turning red as they stamp their feet during a rant about how bad they have it. They appear to believe that if they whine and cry they will get attention, like a bawling infant. This belief is often solidified by the Like Lovers and Enablers that shower their self-centered posts with kudos and comfort.

Awfully Ambiguous

They can’t come right out and say what’s going on because that might make them sound like a Baby or The Unfiltered. They require that people ask them about the super vague details of their posts before divulging everything, and then some, in the comments. Another favorite move is to alienate 99% of their FB friends by telling a specific commenter/ Enabling friend to send them a private message for the details.

Hypochondriac

Willing to share the most personal details about their health and bodies, the Hypochondriac might actually be sick, or they might be turning a pimple into a cyst with their frantic, often too detailed posts. They think they’re doing you a courtesy by involving you in the agony of their kidney stones or the mystery of their strange rash. The most considerate will accompany their description with a picture.

The Liar

This person likes to say or share things that might not necessarily be true. When called out on their falsehoods, they often recant and delete the statements in question. Unfortunately for them, they don’t understand screenshots, copying and pasting, or that there’s no take backs on the internet.

The Perfectionist

Every picture and status update shows a perfect existence. Perfect house, car, family, kids. They’d never allow a tagged picture of themselves with no makeup or without their hair done. They’re masquerading Liars.

The Zealot

They carry their beliefs to extremes and have no room in their self-proclaimed open-minds for anyone else’s opinion. They openly post their opinions on politics, religion, society, justice, etc. Like a wolf taking a deer down by the throat, they attack anyone whose opinion is not their own. After a while, the ranting style of their posts becomes too much for most of their friends and Zealots are often deleted, unfollowed, or just scrolled past.

The Paranoid

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Every post is about them. They just know it. The arch nemesis of a Paranoid is the Awfully Ambiguous.

The Nose

Being overly interested in what everyone else is doing, these types will look at the public info on your page, even if you’re not friends. They’re the first to ask, “What happened?” to someone asking for prayers for her grandma. If you change your relationship status from “in a relationship” to “single,” you can bet that they will be the first to comment, usually asking you to private message them.

Game Nazi

Facebook game requests

They’re on the fast track to being deleted by sending endless game requests. It seems like they play every game on FB and assume that all their friends do too. They blindly click the windows that pop up in these “Share” your score, level achievement, game win, “Invite you friends” games. They could just hit cancel when prompted to send these requests, but that would require them to read the dialog box and there’s not time for that when they need to get back to playing.

Poker

WTF is the point? Just knock it off already.

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~L~ and *d*