Advocacy, Champions, Family Journeys, Parenting

I Am “that” Parent

This post is inspired by a recent post that has gone viral titled “Dear Parent: About THAT Kid” by an educator in Calgary, Alberta. It is a powerful post and I encourage you to read it. While I was reading the post, I thought about how easy it is to assume instead of be curious. I thought about the label “THAT” and how we become fearful of this – we don’t want to be known as “THAT” parent so we stay quiet.  I think it is time to be more curious about “THAT”. This post is dedicated to all the parents out there who are “THAT” parent.

Author: Karen Copeland


I am that parent.

Dear professionals: You know me, I am the one who asks questions. The one who seems like she is always asking for information. The one who makes suggestions on the IEP, or seems to go on and on and on about the concerns she has about her son. The one who will turn a 15 minute scheduled meeting into 45 minutes. The one who does not hesitate to let you know when things are not going well for her child. The one who can get emotional and (unintentionally) make everyone feel yucky. The one who requests documentation and wants to look at her child’s file. The one who says she wants goals to be more specific. The one who just doesn’t seem to go away and leave you alone to do your job. The one who keeps her own file.

Dear other parents: You know me, I am the one who always looks a bit off in the morning. The one who is pleading with her child to enter the school. The one who stands off to the side and appears to be waiting for something to happen. The one who doesn’t get her child to apologize right away when he has done something wrong. The one who picks her child up early from school and doesn’t seem to get involved in anything. The one who can’t seem to get her child to behave like all the other kids. The one who doesn’t parent her child the way you do.

I would love to tell you how I wasn’t always that parent.

I would love to tell you about how when our child first started school I trusted and believed that he would be okay, even though we knew he was just a little bit different than the other kids.

I would love to tell you how many times we were told to just leave things up to the school staff and our son would be fine.

I would love to tell you about the time when I became concerned about things that were happening for our son, concerned enough to book an appointment with a pediatrician. I would love to tell you that he saw us for fifteen minutes, made a snap diagnosis and told me to put our son on medication.

I would love to tell you about the time we saw a counsellor for one hour, who told us our son had a different diagnosis and we needed to find him a special school.

I would love to tell you about the looks of confusion, pity and sometimes even derision that have been cast my way on the playground. I would love to tell you about the times that I stood alone outside the school waiting for my son, with no one approaching me.

I would love to tell you about the time I had to console my son because he finally realized that everyone else in his class was getting invited to birthday parties, except for him.

I would love to tell you that when my son doesn’t apologize right away it is because he can’t. I would love to tell you that the way his brain works takes longer than others, and if I were to force him to apologize it wouldn’t go well. I would love to tell you to be patient and to just allow him some time to figure it out. I would love to tell you that if you do this, he will apologize in the most sincere way.

I would love to tell you about the time that I provided a teacher with a letter that highlighted my sons strengths, challenges and how to best approach these, only to be told “I prefer to find things out for myself”.

I would love to tell you about the time my son sat in the hallway all day because he refused to complete a writing assignment at the beginning of the day, even though his IEP clearly stated he was to be presented with a distracting activity when he gets stuck.

I would love to tell you about the notes that would come home in my son’s planner detailing the negative events of the day for anyone to read, or about the time I sat in a parent teacher interview and was told “all” the other parents in the class have said my son is a bully.

I would love to tell you about trying to figure out what services might be available to support our child and our family. I would love to tell you about finding out about a certain resource, and feeling hopeful only to placed on a waitlist for at least six months.

I would love to tell you about how I became detached from any and all school activity because it did not matter what I said or did, it impacted my son and likely gave me an ulcer. I didn’t want to become known as that parent.

I would love to tell you about the time a psychiatrist saw us for 15 minutes and determined our son should no longer qualify for a public assessment, and then followed up with a letter saying we had provided non-specific information to support our concerns, because apparently ten pages of documented observations are considered to be non-specific.

I would love to tell you about the time that my son was in desperate need of connection to a medical professional. I would love to tell you about the ways we were handed off from one service system to another, no one wanting to provide the support that had been recommended.

I would love to tell you about the time we were trying to get some support and were told to call a ministry agency that we clearly did not meet the mandate for. And yet, we were still required to do this.

I would love to tell you about sitting in meetings and hearing about all the bad things our son was doing. I would love to tell you about all the times we have been made to feel that our parenting was the reason our son was the way he was. I would love to tell you about the time I was a “fly on the wall” and overheard some brutal comments about my child.

I would love to tell you about all the times we were told our son simply couldn’t handle a full day of school and that we needed to pick him up early. I would love to tell you that this meant I needed to give up my employment because I was unable to fulfill my obligations. I would love to tell you that even though we did this, we did not receive any support from any organization for the time our son should have been in school.

I would love to tell you about how year after year, we have to explain our son to new people because it seems like the information does not go forward to the next grade in a timely way.

I would love to tell you about all the services and supports we have tried to access for our child over the years, how much we have paid for these and what we have found to be most useful.

I would love to tell you about how some mornings when I am walking my dog, I reflect on all of this and realize how easy it is to isolate myself from this world that sometimes does not understand.

But most of all,

I would love to tell you that I am proud of my son and his courage in facing each day.

I would love to tell you how I am proud of myself for becoming more knowledgeable about the challenges my child faces, learning about the systems we access for support, learning the jargon so I don’t feel dumb sitting at the meeting table when an acronym is used.

I would love to tell you about the people who have come into our lives on our journey who have believed in us and given us hope. I would love to tell you about the one time we were asked the question “where would you like to see your child when he is an adult, and what can we do to help get him there?”. I would love to tell you about the time I broke down in tears in a meeting, because my child’s grade six teacher said she loved having him in her class, that he was polite and respectful. I would love to tell you that was the first time anyone had ever said that to us in a meeting.

I would love to tell you that I don’t want to be that parent but then I would not be telling you the truth. I am thankful I am that parent. I would love to tell you how thankful I am to have discovered my voice, that I have become aware of my rights as a parent in these systems, and that I am not afraid to let this be known. I would love to tell you that despite all the challenges we have experienced, I continue to have faith and hope for my family, I believe we will be okay. I would love to tell you that I would much rather be that parent, than staying silent and letting things happen as they may.

I would love to tell you all this.

But you rarely ask.

If you happen to decide you would like to, I would love to tell you our story.

176 thoughts on “I Am “that” Parent”

  1. I know how it feels to be “that kid” about not being invited to parties, about being violent, a lot of this resonates with my childhood. A teacher once told my mum that they wanted to observe me because I was very intelligent but always alone and my mum said no because she didn’t want to isolate me further. I wish that sometimes she had because there have been a lot of times when I’ve wondered what I did wrong, why everyone laughed, When I’ve struggled in social situations or in education settings and wondered if I’m just naughty. I wish that I had a diagnosis to understand things not to blame my behaviour on because the support that is offered could have helped in all situations Because being that being that kid is horrible when you don’t understand, when you’re the one that has no friends, the only thing you can rely on is a supportive family so good on you for getting through that stress and doing the best for your child because one day they will thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad you commented daisyjennings. I have run into the argument about labelling kids a lot over the years. I have always thought – a diagnosis is not an excuse, it is an explanation. The label or diagnosis does not *define* the child, rather it provides a bit of guidance as to what may work best when it comes to strategies. Knowing your strengths, knowing your challenges and how to build skills to address these challenges is critical. Thank you so much for sharing.


      1. I am THAT parent & the teacher of THAT kid. I’ve had to go over heads when I was refused to be heard about why my THAT kid’s 504 was completely ignored. But being THAT teacher who has parents who don’t support my discipline plan or tries as hard as they can to make my life as a teacher miserable, I see it from both sides. Helicopter parents…BACK OFF! Pick your battles and make sure they’re the right ones!


  2. I was that painfully akward child who was smarter than those around her but totally socially isolated, but my parents had actual diagnosed learning or health issues with 2 of my siblings and I always tested within normal so I just “need to buck up and deal with it or change who you are to who they want you to be.” It was common for the time to act that way just 20 years ago when I was going through it. I will say that eventually people started coming to me and wanting to be my friend because I stayed true to myself and everyone that spends much time around me knows I am honest and non judgemental. I will tell you how I see it (sometimes too bluntly) but it never is from a place of judgement. I still don’t want to be around people more than necessary but I function just fine. Now I have a son who is painfully akward but super extroverted. He is that kid who has a special symbol to let his teacher know he needs a break from the classroom and can he finish his assignment in the office? He has been known to climb under his desk when everyone in the classroom is talking and he is overwhelmed. He is the kid who doesn’t get along with the other boys his age because he is social/emotionally immature and they pick up on that and think it’s funny to make him scream or cry to disrupt the class. I am that parent who emails his teacher back and forth whenever something may agitate him or a new inappropriate coping mechanism shows up. I am that parent who doesn’t let my son into some activities because I am pretty sure that he cannot handle the interactions in an appropriate way. I am the parent who was lucky enough to have some good teachers, one who told me to never accept the easy diagnosis some of the younger teachers will suggest because in 30 years of teaching she has only had an amazing kid like him come along every 10 years and giving in to the easy fix will only hurt him in the long run. I am the parent who is lucky enough to have the first psychologist I brought my son to understand that his issues are not typical of any diagnosis but a combination and is willing to taylor how it is being handled the more we delve into it. I am that parent who sometimes, when dealing with a new authority figure will point out that I am pretty sure it is not my paenting or our home life causing these issues because his little sister is a model student, friend, and all around child and they are not being raised with different standards. I know that is not thebest thing to do but it keeps me from breaking down crying when that adult tells me I am doing something wrong in raising my child and I should try some other methode as if I am too stupid to think to research and have never tried anything other than what I am doing right now. It is not always the most fun, some days it sucks, but when I am so happy I could cry when I see my son acting appropriately when I pick him up from after school care just because he walked into the room, around the group of kids playing ball, and waited until he was five feet from me to tell me what he was so excited about in an regular volume speaking voice I know we are making progress, we are on the right path, and eventually everything will be alright.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Karen, I respect you so much, beautifully written. I thank you because I too am “that” parent and I will continue to learn, speak up, advocate, educate, be my son’s best friend, teacher, and I will continue to be his voice. I won’t be “THAT” parent that does NOT stand up for what is right and just settles for what the system has to offer….my son has been through more horror stories than I care to share but I will be his voice and I will never let the system or anyone else tell me what’s best for him. He is a unique individual that has been literally ripped apart by this system. I won’t stand for it. I applaud your bravery to write from your heart. Your son is very lucky to have you. Keep up the good work!!! Marie in Boston, MA (my son is 24) — the wonderful (NOT) world of adult services has dropped a bomb on him and our entire family.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Having been THAT parent for our daughter with CP, I thank you for sharing and want you to know that your child is so lucky to have you. Every wall we break down, I believe, makes it easier for the next “that” parent to be heard!! Champion on!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Received via email:

    Karen, so powerful. Thank you for writing that, and for sharing the teacher’s post as well. It sparked so much great discussion. I cried with both of them – the teacher’s post made me cry for what I hoped and wished for my son; and yours for the reality our family faced.

    I long for the day when there is no more THAT child or “this” child – when ALL of our children are seen for the sparks they bring into this world; and that by looking for their sparks instead of only their shortcomings, the big people in their lives will be inspired to find the curiosity needed to fan those flames. I think…I hope…it is starting. It is discussions like this that will move it in that direction.

    My son and the challenges we face(d) have brought so many gifts – so often it was hard and lonely and scary, but so so so worth it. Karen is so right, look for those champions – the ones who hear you, foster those relationships, keep learning and reaching and advocating. For us, it made all the difference. We are not alone, not by a long shot.

    Karen, thank you for being a champion.



  6. Karen, I saw your post through the Kelty website, great stuff. I’m glad your message is encouraging and inspiring hope for parents. I also followed the link to the original Dear Parent post, it was amazing too, thanks for including that. Keep up the good work!



  7. I would love to tell you that you are not alone and I am proud to be that parent too and I would love to tell yoy how proud I am of my daughter who is only 7 and how we are facing so many of the same things as your son and you. Mostly I would love to tell you how proud your post has made me of families like our who struggle un known eveyday and how you have given them… us incuragement to stay strong. I would love to tell you… thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was one of “those” children. And in my day we were just considered bad. I have Schizo-affective disorder plus Anxiety disorder. My parents pretty much gave up and let me go my own way. Due to my intelligence and the fact my sister Dorothy Gazzola brought me to the Lord. I managed to complete 3 years of university but got too sick to finish. I admire what you are doing keep it up don’t ever let your son feel you have given up. I’m finally at age 51 getting my life together I have celebrated 22 years of marriage and am working as an artist. I have no regrets but I sometimes wonder if my parents had stepped up to the plate and been “that” parent would I have gone farther. But always encouraged to hear about parents like you. We decided not to have children. But I adore my niece Faithy waithy! Dorothy is an inspiration to me. I’ve just always regretted not being the best big sister to my younger sisters. But trust me being that parent in itself is saving your son the pain of rejection and some day you will rejoice in how far those children will go. Love never returns void. Best wishes Jackie.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Some of you guy’s posts are freaking me out. If your child has something wrong with them, I’m sorry and can’t relate, but if your child hits others or is aggressive that’s a bully. It affects the children that are not THAT KID as well you know. We need to stop making excuses and take away the video games, toy guns and weapons, and television.


    1. I am sure you are either a troll or someone who thinks they know it all either because you are an adolescent yourself or some young adult who perhaps took one childhood development class. Here’s the thing, my child is not aggressive, in fact, is not agressive and his disruptive issues have nothing to do with video games, toy guns and weapons, or television. Perhaps you need to educate yourself on mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and learning disabilities, or really just spend time with a child that is not as perfect as you or yours. I have not read one excuse in any of these posts, there have been reasons which are being worked on by these parents. It took years before we figured out what was going on for my bright son to have regular “freak outs” in class for what appeared on the outside as no reason. Unless you have worked with these kids, have/are raising one, or ever tried to actually get to know one, you have no place to put a blanket over everyone who identifies with this post as some one who “need to stop making excuses and take away the video games, toy guns and weapons, and television.” Get over yourself, especially if you are just a troll.


    2. Agreed, THAT kid needs to be held accountable, MY kid has once defended herself from THAT kid and was in all sorts of troubles at school (no recess or play time) while THAT kid gets a hug and no punishement of any sorts. I understand there could be all sorts of reasons for THAT child to behave like they do, but to let them get away with this kind of behavior wont help anyone. A bully is a bully no matter what his situation and my kids should not have to suffer because of this `superhuman`

      Superhuman is any human that is not the norm and get special treatment at the cost of the `normal` humans


  10. I am THAT parent of THAT kid, and also a teacher to THAT kid. I give my students everything I have to the point of neglecting the needs of my own son with special needs, only to be told by parents I don’t care, and am not doing it right. I am told by parents that my time doesn’t matter when I am missing my sons therapy appointment to meet with you. I get it. We want what is best for our children. Most teachers feel the same way. However, don’t get mad at me when you don’t support me, so interventions don’t work. I learn more everyday. Every child is different. It can be hard to see the forest for the trees…..I write IEP’s, but when I go to my sons, the mom brain makes it hard to understand what is happening. I can’t join support groups because they all complain about teachers. Don’t get mad at teachers if they give you answers you don’t like. Yes, your child may have social emotional issues, lets address them and take care of them…..School is different than home. Don’t tell me something at school isn’t an issue at home. Helping your child is why I go to work in the morning. If you have all the answers, fine. Home School. You have your child in a special education program because they are experts in special education. They worked their butts off to help your kid. They don’t have an easy job. You may not like what they do, but is it working? Are you being supportive? Telling anyone who can listen that you don’t like your kids teacher, in front of your child makes decreases the likelihood anything will work. After all, if you don’t support the teacher, the kid won’t listen.


    1. Thank you for your comment. I can sense a great deal of frustration in your message. What I have found through my journey is that when we start talking about something in “all or nothing” kinds of ways, it helps keep us in our negative space of bad feelings and judgments.

      While at times it might feel like all parents are challenging you; or it might seem to a parent that all teachers are against them; this is usually not the case. This is when we must dig deep and start looking for the good things that are happening, the people who believe in us and encourage us. So that we can shift away from those negative thoughts and start becoming a bit more curious. On both sides!

      There is much work to be done to support our children at school AND at home. This requires curiousity, and sometimes even forgiveness. I send you courage and strength for your journey with your child, with your students and with the parents of your students.


  11. I have been in a similar situation. I worked as a teacher’s aide and paraprofessional in an elementary school and my hands were tied even more than the teachers. There were many days and weeks that I would come home so tired and done with working on helping the students then listening to the parents on both sides complain without being aloud to say anything that I did not have the patience for my own son. It is a hard and often thankless job but remember that feeling when you see something click in a child that has been a huge issue before, whether it is your own or your students. I have to remind myself of those times to keep motivated to work towards the next “aha” moment otherwise I would give up. You are human and therefore falable. You are making a difference even if you are the only one who sees it. Please remember, you are not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow, this is amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you. As a child who might have been a bit like yours, I struggled greatly and felt awful for my mother. She too was a strong and wonderful parent like you.


  13. Reblogged this on Champions for Community Mental Wellness and commented:

    In honour of Mother’s Day, I am re-posting this piece I wrote in November.

    I dedicate this to all the moms (and dads and caregivers) out there who go above and beyond for their kids every single day. You show courage, resiliency and most of all compassion and understanding.

    Thank you, each of you, for being your child’s champion!


  14. I am not THAT parent. I’m the one who looks on sympathetically not knowing what to say. I’m the one who gives a shy smile as if to say, “I can tell you’re a good parent and I can tell you’re embarrassed. Please don’t be.”

    We have to have kids in the schools who will treat other kids respectfully too. We need to teach our “typical” kids to be less egocentric and more compassionate. I’ve got fairly typical kids though two have adhd. I’ve tried to encourage my kids to be kind to “quirky” kids and kids who aren’t exactly like them. I encourage them to have compassion for all other kids and think about what else might be going on that is affecting their behavior (parents divorcing, etc.) My son had a girl in his class who had autism in 4th grade. He was so irritated by her. When he said something about her and I realized who he was talking about then I explained what autism is and how her brain didn’t work the same way his did. He immediately seemed to get it and wasn’t irritated by her anymore. We need our kids to be the champions of other kids too.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you. I was THAT parent, too! My son is in college now and the road is still not smooth, but we are traveling and learning together.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I was “that kid” but I didn’t have “that parent”. I was labeled (by my parents and teachers) as “lazy”, “daydreamer”, “D student”. wast told over and over again i wouldn’t amount to anything. Was told to “go to a trade school because collage would be a waste for me”. They were probably right on that last one. Year after year being pushed to the next grade without an education because my parents though “help” meant i was retarded. No one noticed till i was in the 11th grade and couldn’t spell or use basic punctuation (thank god for spellcheck). My reading teacher asked me if i had ever been diagnosed with ADD and possibly dyslexia. After talking with my doctor it was confirmed on both accounts but to late for any help…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you for this — I am that parent in the morning, often late because I’d rather persuade or distract or comfort my child through a difficult transition (sometimes with upsetting unexpected changes that completely throw her off) than have her literally pulled screaming and crying out of the car. I feel so fortunate to (SO FAR) having had excellent support from the local school system, and even her own pediatrician who was ahead of me on getting answers for her delays. I am grateful for teachers who love her for the wonderful little quirky girl she is because I too am so grateful to be this parent of this child. I am grateful for the invaluable insights of adults who are like my child, who help me keep her needs and rights in mind. I am also incredibly grateful for the other parents who understand, both those whose kids are neurotypical and those whose kids are just as awesome and quirky as mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I am a parent of a 22 year old “that” kid (I am also a psychologist, so I had access to a lot of the info I needed
    )-and I want to tell you it gets better. My son does not have his grade 12, but he has a girlfriend, he works cooking in a food truck, he has an apartment (attached to our house, but he manages all the demands in it). When you are raising “that kid”, sometimes it helps to step back and ask “what is my goal”-it isn’t about education, or being normal-it is being happy, coping with the daily life demands and connecting with people you love and who love you. Sometimes, when we hold on to that and you see it (the whole family playing a board game and my son laughing, not melting, when he lost) all the bad days don’t matter

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you for writing this! You exactly captured some of the things we’ve gone through with our son who is now 8. I have absorbed the anger directed at me by other parents, teachers’ frustrations, and family members’ condescending parenting “advice”. I’ve felt the sickening dread of the phone call from the school principal for my son’s kindergarten infractions. I’ve been told “maybe traditional school isn’t the right fit for your son”, and the next year I was told “maybe Montesssori isn’t the right fit for your son”. I’ve read every parenting book I can get my hands on. We’ve tried all of the typical parenting techniques. Time outs. The reward system. Gold stars. Natural consequences.Taking away privileges. Limiting screen time. We’ve reached out to his teachers, given them our full support. We appreciate all they do for our son. We’ve seen the doctor, our son went through all of the testing, got a diagnosis, and now he’s on a medication that requires we obtain a new prescription EVERY month from the pediatrician and is exorbitantly expensive. We have relentlessly (relentlessly!) reinforced the importance of manners, courtesy, respect, keeping hands to self. And through all that, there has been progress. It is slow going. It is like trying to move a boulder up a mountain. But the aggression, which was daily at age 4, is now almost a non-issue. Last week he got his goals done at school 4 days out of five. Triumph! I think there needs to be an “It Gets Better” campaign for parents. It does get better. But it’s hard, hard work. Parenting is hard work in the best of circumstances. But it’s even harder for some than others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m also *That* parent & just now having to take my son for testing & counselling etc. At home I have absolutely no issues he’s highly intelligent, imaginative, affectionate, loving, respectful, attentive, able to self regulate, mature beyond his years (6)the list is long. I wasn’t aware there was an issue until a month into school *Kindergarten* when the nightmare began. The school has now said he cannot come back until he has been to a second Pediatrician & a diagnosis has been found, In short they want him medicated. Can anyone tell me PLEASE what the possible diagnosis might be/look like.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sorry for the very late reply. I cannot offer you any suggestions regarding possible diagnosis, but what I can offer is to follow your intuition. Know your child, look for good information, and if you can, get connected to other parents who have kids who have challenges. They will be able to guide you to services and supports, as well as help you learn the questions you need to ask (and how to ask them!). You might find the website helpful when it comes to school advocacy. Good luck!


      2. If he is honestly at home what you describe him to be, then pull him out of the school situation that requires him medicated and educate him at home. At least until you can get a handle on the discrepancy between your perceptions and the school’s.
        Based on the small amount of detail in your post, what possible benefit is he receiving from a system that is requiring him to be medicated to participate?
        Good luck!


    2. “I think there needs to be an “It Gets Better” campaign for parents.” Yes! What a great idea!

      Sometimes it feels like things will never change, but then one day we take a step back and realize how far we have come. Thank you for your comment 🙂


  20. I am also “That” parent,having 2 sons with ADHD and one of them also having ODD. The boys are now young men of 21 and 22. During their early years in school one was the “bully” that picked on the other kids, while the other was the quiet one that always spent time by himself, didn’t go outside during breaks but read every book that interested him in the library. I tried everything that people suggested to me from vitamins, to watching everything that they ate, removing anything that contained dyes in their food, the list goes on. There were some changes in their behavior but not enough that made any great changes. My husband and I both spent a lot of time at the school because of one boy or the other, but the effort has paid off. After the boys had been diagnosed and the right medication found life for them and everyone else became much easier. Both boys graduated with their grade 12, one went to trade school and became a truck and trailer mechanic, (which is what he always wanted to do), the other son graduated with honors is now finished his second year of university, going into his third in September and hoping to become a biochemist. The thing that I kept telling myself was to keep supporting the boys and remembering that they are the important people in this. I kept telling the boys that they can do what ever in life that they want to do, that everybody is special in their own way and above all else remember that nobody is “stupid or slow or retarded” we all are good at something, although sometimes it takes awhile to find out what that is.
    Although it took a bit for the diagnosis and finding the right medication, it helped both boys to focus, they became much more attentive and instead of having to spend a lot of time at the school, we started going to the school to see how they were doing because they weren’t calling anymore. One son had to repeat grade one, his inability to focus was first noticed when he was 3-4 years old when most children are able to sit and watch a program on TV or color a picture ( he couldn’t focus long enough to color one thing on a page), by the time he was finishing grade three he read :The Hobbit” and went on that summer to read “The Lord of the Rings” series. So be patient and keep up the fight for your children no matter their “diagnosis” they are worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “we all are good at something, although sometimes it takes awhile to find out what that is.” Yes, this! Just because we haven’t figured it out yet, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Thanks so much for your comment.


  21. I was THAT kid and am now THAT adult, given a lesser diagnosis to enable me to go to college only to get in the “real world” and struggle with day to day things in life and at work. I struggle alone because my widow mother does not understand how to assist and advocate for her adult daughter alone, I struggle because I’m too low functioning for one service, too high functioning for another and don’t meet criteria for another due to primary diagnosis being LD/DD. All that said I am moving into an apartment with my best friend who understands my strengths and challenges and is a great support. I have a part time job that I struggle with daily but I can’t disclose because of fear of further discrimination. I stay because the clients need me and I need money. It’s funny that in our society that those who need assistance but are “just” able to work and need to keep working to prove themselves and keep busy are not eligible for help when they need it. People tell me I am confident, outgoing, bright, compassionate, understanding and don’t understand why I say I struggle when I have a job, a car, ,ovin out on my own and have become an advocate for those who need a voice. I am challenged everyday because of social awkwardness, slow processing, fear I am saying something at an inappropriate time, that it takes me 15min to write a email you my supervisors so it makes me late for next client, fear I will be judged, criticized, my faults pointed out, that I will cry and get emotional with people of authority because I am having difficulty communicating what I need to say. PLEASE, BEFORE YOU JUDGE/ MAKE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT A CLASSMATE, A COLLEAGUE, A FRIEND, A RELATIVE, A PERSON ON THE STREET: ASK YOURSELF ” DO I TRULY KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON? WOULD I WANT OTHERS TO THINK THAT OF ME?” BE PATIENT AND KIND.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. guess i’ m a little of both …..i have a two and a half year old daughter and have been working with children and adults with intellectual ” needs ” for many years now ….. to be honest i believe the label ” that parent ” &” that child ” came from those in the medical field and the generation who ” well i did it and you came out all right ….” As well as the families who think and want you to think they live in a perfect tv world . I really dont care what label society has put me in .If thats what you gotta do for you to justify why your ingorant well so be it ! I cant stand back and let people make up excuses anymore ! Get educated ! Help one another ! It takes a community to raise a child ! Stop labeling people and start getting involved !

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I have one of those kids. She suffered lack of oxygen at birth. Diagnosed with adhd at 3 yrs old but her social anxiety kept her terrified of school. Getting her to school each day was a struggle. Her speech impediment caused her to be made fun of so she became more withdrawn. Teachers said it would be best for her and her twin brother to be separated. I agree and she withdrew more. I know u never realized what ur child did to her but I watched her slowly hate herself and the world. At fourteen she was diagnosed with borderline personality. Tried ending her life on numerous occasions. All the time I had two other children put on back burner so i could focus on her. I was that mom. The single parent who never seemed able. No teacher interviews because leaving home was a chore. Worried that child was hurting herself or a sibling. No I didn’t choose this life but it was mine. I left a man I loved to ensure my children grew up safe and happy. I did the best I could. Can u say the same. We’re u ever aware that ur child was a bully? That she made fun of a child already broken? Think about that next time u complain about that child.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Fellow “THAT” parent here. I know the heartache and pain you have experienced. I also know the joy of being “THAT” parent.

    Penny Williams
    Author of “What to Expect When Parenting Children with ADHD” and “Boy Without Instructions”
    Parent of 2e preteen with ADHD, autism, and LDs

    Liked by 1 person

  25. This is nothing like the original post. This is a pity party post that bashes the teaching profession. In truth by doing all of the things you do to interfere with the teaching you truly are screwing up your child’s education. Being “That parent” isn’t something to be proud of. Don’t compare yourself to that teacher. You’re nowhere close to the same.


    1. Not once was I intending to compare myself to the teacher who wrote the Dear Parent post. She wrote about the things she can’t tell other parents who are concerned when “that” kid is in their child’s class. My post was to provide some perspective on the many things parents of “that” kid do behind the scenes to try and get their child some support and the multiple barriers we face in doing so – not just in the education system but in ALL systems. I doubt that you have taken the time to read any of the other posts on my blog, but if you do take a moment you will see multiple posts where I acknowledge and celebrate what teachers are doing to make a difference for kids in our education system – posts like Start with Strengths in Education, Why Informal Connection Matters, Back to School Cheat Sheet, Shifting from Awareness to Acceptance, #StartwithStrengths and more. Because just as it is important for teachers and other parents to understand all that parents of special needs kids are doing, we parents also need to take the time to learn what teachers are doing. And if I can help further this conversation by writing and sharing and collaborating with educators, then absolutely, I will continue to be proud to call myself “that” parent.


    2. I have not walked in the shoes of THAT parent. Only for a brief but priceless time in those of teacher. Of all the comments here, Megan, yours is the one that makes my blood run cold. My fervent prayer is that you are NOT a teacher. Or a parent. Perhaps someday you will be. And then at last your education will hopefully begin.


  26. Thank you so much for this article. I needed this today as my son fits into this perfectly and I too feel like THAT parent. It makes me feel better for being so proud of him despite what others may see I see his true potential and how far he really has come.


  27. To “That” parent, “That” child and “That” teacher:
    I’m the parent of a grown “That” child. There were several “That” kids in my son’s elementary class and we became very close. Today, as adults, one of the kids is an extraordinarily gifted musician, two are gifted in math or science, another is a clear leader. All are very passionate in their respective fields and all bring the qualities of curiosity and innovation to everything they do. Their uniqueness is now considered a highly sought-after quality BECAUSE they think differently. I believe these children were only “That” kid because their education did not fit them (they were expected to fit the education). They have grown into who they were meant to be, despite their earlier struggles through the education system. All these children had loving parents (like you!) who believed in them and who helped them discover and practice their passions. As a former “That” parent, it was not easy, but it was So. Worth. It.


    1. Thank you for such a powerful writing i would like to use it for the petition i am going to use for not including my son to school trip who has additional needs . Could you let me know if i can attach the writing so everyone can read what additional needs parents are going though . Thank youx


  28. I would love to tell you how with knowledge of this about me .. the school disarmed my parental rights and derailed myself and my family with county and state abuse of federal protections to further their own legal and collateral objectives ….


  29. Thank you for your story! I am becoming “that parent” as well, as my daughter (finishing kindergarten) was just diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and a specific phobia (something she faces every day at school) – all on top of her sensory processing disorder (she’s an avoider). I’m aware of the uphill battle we have ahead of us (we’re waiting on paperwork to start her 504 and IEP), but I’m praying that someday “that kid” will blend in better and be more accepted by peers, teachers, and other parents. THANK YOU for your testimony, your example of courage, and everything you’ve done to pave the way! ❤


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