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.Β  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 am the parent of the good kid that got bullied. She got sand thrown in her eyes, things stolen and one day THAT KID stuffed something in my 5 year old daughters mouth, Was it poison, was it meds? Nobody knew and THAT KID wasn’t telling where she got it. Can you imagine how my husband and I felt as she sat on a nurses lap with people testing her and checking her vital signs.
      It turned out to be nothing. We were lucky. Fast forward 10 years to my sons 2nd grade class and THAT KID was sexually molesting boys and girls. My son came home one afternoon and told me some people are different and they can do anything they want to you and you have to let them. Great lesson. Finally the teacher, her hands tied by special educators, asked the parents to go to the police. In a civilized society there are consequences for bad behavior. Even THAT KID needs to learn that.
      Parents need to advocate for their targeted children. If the school can’t protect them, you have recourse. The recourse is law enforcement.
      I hope I open your eyes to the other side of the story and how
      condoning physical violence in the name of compassion has serious consequences.
      By the way, I spent a lot of time on the teacher’s side of the desk.


      1. Thank you for your comment. I am sorry for the experiences you have had with your daughter. I can relate to sitting in emergency waiting to find out if my child would be okay. It was a scary and heart-wrenching moment. I can empathize with your very real concern about the message your child was receiving from the adults in the school, and I am thankful the parents were finally able to get some guidance as to how to get their child some help.

        I think your comment really illustrates why I wrote this post in the first place. One does not have to look very hard to find all kinds of judgements and assumptions made about parents – look for any news story that details the actions of “that” kid. Indeed, in your comment, you say “In a civilized society there are consequences for bad behavior. Even THAT KID needs to learn that.”

        There are often assumptions made that parents of “that” kid are not doing anything, or that we are not doing enough. But assuming does not mean you know we are not doing anything. The point of this post was to highlight ALL the things we were doing to try and get support for our child and our family, that no one knows about because they do not bother to ask.

        I would like to assure you that if my child was violent, I would be seeking out the resources our family would need to support us with that, and do absolutely everything I could to ensure no other child was hurt. I would suspect that many of “that” kids’ parents would do the same.

        The purpose of my post (I can’t speak on behalf of Miss Night) was simply meant to illustrate that if we are truly going to be able to support “that” kid, we also need to understand all the things parents are doing behind the scenes, instead of jumping to a conclusion that they are not doing anything. What kinds of understanding we might gain by asking the simple question – what is your story? instead of assuming that we already know it.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I am so, so sorry that your son and daughter were abused in this way. My sons can be “that kid” sometimes (though never to that degree) and whilst their disabilities may explain the behaviour I do not allow them to justify it. Our school is far more supportive of both sides than it sounds like yours was. It’s harmful to “that kid” for them to get the message that what they’re doing is excusable. It’s not, and it frustrates me when people try to excuse the behaviour of “those kids”. I think the point of both of these articles has been to point out that the majority of parents are trying their best. We give up our careers, our financial well-being, hours and hours of our time to attend meetings and therapy and our hopes and dreams of a “normal” life. It is heart-breaking, soul-shattering, and 80% of marriages with an ASD child end in separation because of the emotional strain. I’m in the fortunate 20% that is getting through. I have been sent by the principal to the school counsellor – yes, me, not just my kids – just to try to get me through this. It’s HARD. I get judgements from other parents, and sometimes I deserve them. However, we cannot control our children – we can teach them, we can spend tens of thousands of dollars on therapy, but we cannot get in there and fire the individual neurons of their brains (and even if we could, we wouldn’t – who has the right?!). But my children get consequences at school and at home for misbehaviour, and they are made to apologise in a way that actually works for them (just saying sorry doesn’t, but I’ve found a method that does).

        It sounds to me like either your school or your district or country – whatever is creating the rules that are tying your teacher’s hands – is screwy. “Special needs” doesn’t mean “exempt from the rules”. It means adjusting the rules to something that actually works, and then enforcing them.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. I too am THAT parent and I could have been the author of this. I am sharing our story on fb – Loving Daniel – parents of THAT child need to know they are not alone. Thank you for putting it all in words.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! What a well written, emotional post! So many things you wrote about that was happening in his school angers me. But one thing for sure is your son is lucky to have a parent like this. Thank you for posting this!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Ron. You know, for awhile I let all of these experiences (school and systems!) defeat me because I had no idea how to handle them emotionally. But there came a point in time where I determined I didn’t want to live that way anymore, and that it wouldn’t be good for my son either! Those experiences were my catalyst for change – to become more aware and knowledgeable. I carry them with me, not as a negative, but as a reminder of why I am who I am today, and why I do what I do. They have made me more curious and that can never be a bad thing πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. November is Epilepsy Awareness Month! I just shared this with 1600 members of a “closed” FB parent support group. We are “THOSE” parents and families. What you wrote was so on point…These are my experiences as well as sums up where I am in the journey! Thank you so much for writing what so many of us live every day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so happy to read this comment. It was hard writing about some of our experiences with school and systems because I didn’t want it to seem like I was bashing, and yet these experiences are ones that have motivated me to do things differently. I used to be afraid to speak up, but now I speak out. A lot. And I wouldn’t have it any other way πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed the post.


      1. I too, was THAT parent while my two boys struggled through school. My heart aches for you as I know all too well how hard it is. One of my worst memories was sitting at a meeting with six high school teachers, the Principal and a guidance counselor. One by one, each of the teachers gave me a litany of all the things they felt were wrong with my child. Not one of them said a single positive thing. By the time they were done I couldn’t even look up at them because my eyes were so full of tears. Normally, I’m a fighter and an advocate, but the cumulative weight of their disapproval was just too much that day.
        BUT, both my boys survived school and grew up into wonderful human beings. I am so proud of them.
        By the way, here’s a book which revolutionized my approach to the struggle back then. Learning Outside the Lines, by Jonathan Mooney and David Frink. It gave me sorely needed validation and inspiration to keep fighting for my boys.
        You are not alone

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Parent of That Kid (TK),

    Here’s the flipside: My fourth-grader has been TK’s classmate since kindy and it is terrific to see how much progress he has made this year and your efforts to get your son the help (for mental health issues that manifest behaviorally) he needed are clearly paying off.

    However, your son’s wonderful progress this year does not undo the fact that TK sent my girl to the ER last year — for six stitches over a math worksheet. Nor the years of stealing from, swearing at and generally terrorizing (involuntarily, as the result of mental health and impulse control issues) the entire class for three years that preceded it. My girl has forgiven your son, understands he feels awful about his actions but wants NOTHING to do with him outside of school.

    I am writing to request that:
    (1) you ask your son to stop inviting my girl for play dates, as the answer is “no”.
    (2) you stop calling me and my husband to inquire why our girl is polite to your son but declines 100% of his invitations. You are fully aware of why she declines his invites: he sent her to the ER for stitches last year.

    You should be very proud of all the progress TK has made in recent months — but actions have consequences and some things cannot be undone.

    Kind Regards,
    stabbed girl’s mommy

    * Yes, TK’s way was, in fact, the correct way to do the math worksheet. Yes, my girl was doing it wrong. Contrary to what TK seems to believe (1) the world would not have ceased to spin on it’s axis because some 8 yo hasn’t quite understood a math concept, (2) yelling “you are SO stupid! Moron! You’re doing it WRONG STUPIDHEAD” is an ineffective strategy for engaging my daughter and (3) the appropriate response to “Thank you for offering to help me TK, but I’m fine” is never EVER a physical assault.


    1. I apologize for taking so long to post your comment. I wanted to take some time to think about my response. I am very sorry for the experiences of your daughter, and the hurt your family carries as a result of these. I cannot comment on the actions of the other child’s parents because I do not know them and I have no way of knowing what they may or may not have done to support their child.

      In your situation, you too have every right to be “that” parent and advocate for the safety of your daughter and not be judged for it. I would expect nothing less of any parent.

      There are no easy answers, there are no easy fixes. However, I still believe that at the foundation of anything, we need to be curious. We get nowhere by simply assuming we know everything about someone or how they are dealing with a situation.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Awesome reply. There is a HUGE difference between children with learning difficulties and children who are constantly disruptive, dangerous, and cannot function in a classroom…. for WHATEVER REASON. Sadly, the parents of these children have federal law on their side, school districts running scared, and live in some dream world where everyone else should pay for and deal with their child’s misbehavior.


  5. Every teacher and school official needs to read this. For all of us who have sat through mindless compassionless IEP meetings…and for those very rare moments when someone “gets it” thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for taking the time to put this on paper for the rest of the world to read. I had to stop reading it about 3 times because I couldn’t see the text through my tears. I could have written this article myself and over the last few years have been very successful in living my life in isolation. Once in awhile I get invited out to visit friends or groups and I often decline the invitation because I honestly don’t believe I have anything to to contribute to discussions & conversations. Do I really need to share that I spend every waking moment obsessing over how we are going to make it through the week, scouring the Internet and books looking for hints or tips, working out how to navigate a school system that doesn’t appear to want anything to do with helping us be successful at school without coming across as an “emotional” parent, standing in line for referrals to community based support programs only to find out that they have been discontinued or our specialist is retiring. What could I possibly bring to a discussion that is remotely interesting. The other day a fellow soccer mom asked me if I could recommend a good movie for her to see and all I could think of was how the quality of my life was so poor already why oh why did I encourage my son to play outdoor winter soccer. When my boss asks me about my 5 year plan and all I can think about is how I am going to make it til bedtime. Thank you for sharing and letting us know that we are not alone. And yes I am also ‘That Parent’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am that parent, and also that kid’s teacher. Thanks to both you and Miss Night for saying it so well. It wasn’t until we had a compassionate and dedicated principal, in his third school, that he started getting help learning to manage his frustrations and anger. He went from multiple tantrums weekly in elementary with a few suspensions per year, to one in all of 7th, and is now a fully functioning high school student taking 7 classes, two of them honors classes. The difference the right teacher and the right principal made was totally life changing for both of us. And the first time one of them asked me how I was doing – in the same district I teach in – I didn’t know how to answer. It seemed like the first time anyone noticed that this wasn’t all the result of my bad parenting.

      Since that time I have found a parent support group, other parents who know, and a whole well of compassion and caring to go to when I need it. And my son has learned to dream and have a chance of making that dream. And as a teacher I learned to love that kid in the class, while I make sure that the child who is innocent doesn’t get short changed at the same time. A hard balancing act, particularly when it isn’t terribly supported by higher ups and staffing.

      Thank you for saying it for me.


  7. Your comment about being told by your son’s 6th grade teacher that they loved having him is something that really struck a chord. I wholeheartedly believe that there is good in every child and that it is our job as professionals to keep looking for it without giving up on a child. thank you for writing this post for all of us teachers!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Pernille. I did a lot of reflection on why her statement had such an impact on me. I came to the conclusion that it was really the first time that someone had commented on his character. She had seen who our child really was deep down inside – despite all the challenges. I carry her comment with me. Every single day.


  8. I am also “That Mom”…..I have found most people helpful when my son has a tantrum in public and they help me out. I also have been told my son is just spoiled and we made him that way… my family. Hugs……

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for articulating my life! I could not have said it better myself. I have to wipe the tears so I can see what I’m writing! I was so discouraged by the negative comments about my sons that I decided at one IEP meeting to make everyone at the table say one good thing about my kid before they started. It changed the whole tone of the meeting. I now routinely do this. I hope you don’t mind but I would like to share this with a closed FB group of Autism moms who could really benefit from this message.


  10. This hit so close to home its insane. It breaks my heart that so many children are being mistreated for their “disabilty”
    by the very people we entrusted to guide and teach them. Out of 7 teachers my 8 yo has had only one actually cared about him…. Pretty sad statistic there

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stacy, don’t give up hope. The best thing I did was get connected on twitter, and started finding out about some of the amazing things educators are doing on behalf of kids. I hope that you find a champion for your child and yourself, that person that believes in you and encourages you. It makes all the difference.


  11. I, too, am THAT parent. I have called meetings to discuss my son. He is highly intelligent and BORED in class a lot. We are finally getting him testing for the gifted/talented program but I am aware that he has other issues besides being smart. He has a difficult time controlling his frustrations and communicating them. I have concerns that he may have ADHD or may be on the “very high functioning” portion of the autism spectrum (I have a nephew who has Asperger’s Syndrome). I have formed a partnership with my son’s school. to try to address his issues. I am THAT parent who went from the “normal” parent-teacher conference this year to an informal “check-in” with his guidance counselor for 45 minutes.

    I am THAT parent who constantly worries that something *I* am doing is causing this inability to handle frustrations in my child. I am THAT parent who has chronic health issues and so my son has had to learn early to be more “self-sufficient” and worries that this contributes to his problems. But I am also THAT parent who has vowed to never say “NOT MY KID” or “My son would never do that” to a teacher or guidance counselor. I am THAT parent who worries about next year’s behaviour already since his school has two guidance counselors based on which grade the child is in and wishes that his current counselor could “follow him” into the next grade.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As parents we carry so many worries, don’t we? I can really appreciate everything you have written here, and relate to much of it. Did you find it hard to find your voice? It took me awhile. I had to learn how to use it. I sure didn’t start off very well, but I was fortunate enough to get connected to champions who believed in me, and guided me towards how to advocate in a better way. It really is a learning journey, this discovering how to advocate for your child. We get penalized when we don’t do it right, but we don’t necessarily get the support to learn how.


    2. Oh Cat…you have just written about my son & I. For I am that parent too!

      My guy is in grade 1 and has struggled since Junior Kindergarten. The community I live in is very small and there is not much available. There is one school (it’s a Kindergarten to Gr. 12 combined), one guidance counselor for ALL grades, and to get an IEP is next to impossible. (They only accept them in June for the following school year, and you may not find out in time) We asked about home-schooling, but were refused by the school board.

      We were referred to a social worker to help him with his “anger issues” and we are still waiting to get in to see them.

      We’re trying as hard as we can to sell our house and move to a larger community where (hopefully) we can get access to programs for my son.

      In the meantime, we’ve had some small success with working on ways to get him to articulate his frustration as opposed to yelling and screaming. His mid-term report has him at above grade level for everything work wise (his reading & math especially are at a much higher grade level), but has “Needs Improvements” on all the social skills

      Thank you both for this πŸ™‚


  12. Thank you for this. It filled me with tears.

    I am THAT parent and have been struggling to keep our daughter in school. She’s in grade 1 and still being sent home for running away from staff. She’s so bright and the school acknowledges that but they do not listen to the strategies we know works. She doesn’t hurt other students, on bad days she makes the staff work harder and encourages the one-on-one time from them to the point they phone me and say “come pick her up we can’t handle her”.

    I am THAT parent that has been trying to access help but like the article says you are lucky if you are not on a waiting list (our daughter was for counselling for 8 months), or that the paediatrician who took 15 minutes to give a diagnosis from a piece of paper you filled out(the diagnosis was to get her help in the classroom not something that actually had to do with her. Oppositional Defiance Disorder which awards 6hrs of time with an aid per week). I am THAT parent that worries that no matter how much help we get to work with the struggles THAT child will never see graduation.
    I am the parent that writes e-mails with THAT child’s teacher and counsellor to keep them updated on anything that may prove difficulty that week (lack of sleep, death in the family, disruptions outside of school, ect.) or the ones that have so we are all on the same page.

    It is not always easy to hold your head high when THAT child starts crying because everyone else from class was invited to parties or sleep overs but not them. THAT parent has cried with worry about their child and feeling like a failure. I’ve done my homework so people stop looking at me like I am another “young parent”.
    I’ve been grateful for all the good days we have and the support of my child’s step dad and our family members. We can make it through each struggle one day at a time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your comment, I can relate to so much of what you have shared. This journey can be a tough one, but if we honor the gifts it brings along with it, it does make some of the challenges a bit easier to manage.


  13. I love this post. This was my life with my son through first grade. It was scary and frustrating and lonely. We felt ostracized, judged and misunderstood. Lucky to have found a home at an amazing public school with amazing teachers and amazing parents. My son has made miraculous progress and we couldn’t be prouder of him!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment. I love hearing from families who have found their champions! Make sure you share that out to the world and let them know how much of an impact they have had on you and your family. We need to build our champions up, encourage them too, because often they are experiencing their own journey as well.


  14. I am “that” parent. Only, my son is incredibly intellegent and just does not understand the social side of school. He used to be so frustrated with the other kids and was never allowed to play with them. I did not realize the gravity of it all until I went to pick him up one day (meet him at school instead of making him walk home). As I stood outside his classroom, the other parents who did not know who I was began talking and all I heard was full grown adults verbally bashing my child. I was well aware of his social issues by this point and had weekly meetings at school. The things I heard from these adults as I stood there were over inflated and some were outright lies. They made assumptions both about “his mother” and “his home life,” none of which were true. The expericence made me so much more protective of him; it also made me a much more active advocate for him. He is finally in a school that is geared towards smarter kids; which in itself helps him socially as the other kids are very like-minded.
    I am “that” parent and I dare someone to say something about my child again. I will have much to say back. I am very proud of him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome that you recognized he would be more successful in an environment with his peers, and placing him in that type of specialized school. If only more people would recognize that forcing their child to try to fit into the one-size-fits-all system is actually a type of denial that is, in fact, likely doing their child a disservice. It is better that your son is in a place that actually meets his unique needs.


    2. Thank you for your comment Kate. Yes, the judgments we can face from other parents can be harsh. It took a long time for me to add a few extra layers to shield me from some of the assumptions, to be honest, they still get to me, but I am getting stronger. I think it is hard to understand this journey if you don’t live it yourself, when you see someone who parents differently than you and you wonder why they can’t just do things like everyone else does.

      I would love it if school communities would start creating networks of support for families – parents who mentor, support and guide other parents (and educators!) through the education system. Creating a community of care within the school, thereby curbing some of the assumptions that may be made by others. Do you think something like this would be helpful?


  15. I have just read this. I don’t think I am wholly “that” parent but enough of “that” parent to burst into tears whilst trying to read it. Inspired to do something about how things are going. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I am THAT grandma. After reading the post and comments I feel so fortunate to have had a wonderful school system that worked with me and my grandson through his IEPs, medication issues and doctor appointments that began when he was in 3 year old preschool. There have been some issues with other children and adults but few and far between and I believe a large part of that is due to the school’s assistance and the caring community we live in. There have been a few times in extracurricular activities when a parent from another school has remarked about my grandson loud enough for me to hear, generally saying something to the effect of “if that was my kid I would spank his behind.” When I do hear this I confront them and let them know they have no idea what they are talking about and should not judge others. I usually receive an apology. My grandson is in 7th grade now and doing great although he will never be “the same” as other kids but that’s ok. He’s a loving, caring, and smart young man who has worked hard to be where he is in life.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you. I can’t say anything else, but thank you for writing what I wanted to write when I read the original piece. This is very much my life with my son, Colin. He’s homeschooled now, but we spent years dealing with everything you wrote about. I have no other words, just thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I am so grateful that I came across this because there are “those” parents that feel useless as the kiddos this inspires all of us parents and kiddos to keep fighting the fight because we are with it. They are our future and I am blessed to be “that” parent!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I have a deaf, autistic, adhd child and this hits close to home. Constantly being told by professionals give me I’m a parent card all
    The. Time. It’s patronizing and when they talk to me like I know nothing about my child and dangle their degrees at me like I just found out yesterday about his diagnosis. Amen for this. Never give up on our kid’s potential!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I am ‘that’ mum. It led us to homeschooling because we were never once fortunate enough to have ‘that’ teacher. I was patronised, lied about and not listened to by school which was bad enough but the school didn’t follow the ieps for my children and didn’t like it when we kept going in. Yes, everyone assumed, even our church, that we spoiled them and made them this way when in fact our children are adopted and were harmed by their birth parents and had the gall not to get over it already. I am like you, I now just say how it really is when people are kind enough to ask.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Thank you so much for sharing…..I can’t believe how much your story mirrors ours. It is amazing how alone you can feel only years later to realize you were not alone at all. I am “that” parent and thanks to you I don’t feel quite so bad about that anymore πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Everyone needs to read this . I felt like this could have been written by my daughter-in-law . She has , along with her husband ( our son) been struggling to be heard on behalf of their wonderful son .

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I have a son with pretty severe ADHD that he is now on medication for. I am very fortunate in many ways – he has always had teachers who are willing to work with us and help come up with a daily communication plan even though he is in regular classes and no IEP. He has always had teachers who see how intelligent he is and who will celebrate his accomplishments and good days as well as communicating the rough days to us so we can address them at home as well. I am very fortunate to have good health insurance and great mental health providers for him.

    The hardest part for me has always been many of the other parents. On the one hand there are all of the comments to him like “you may get to act like that at home, but you can’t act like that here”, and to me like “if you would spank him more, he’d learn to behave real fast”. Then so many who who find out he’s on medication are judgmental and assume I have “taken the easy way out – you just throw your kid on some medicine to control him. ADHD isn’t even real”.

    They have no desire to learn how I was 110% opposed to medication and of the journey to changing my mind. I was afraid of medication changing my child’s personality or doing some damage to him otherwise. I tried everything else I could find out about, from completely changing our diet, therapy sessions for him and us as parents and trying different parenting techniques that others thought were crazy. They have no idea how I cried when I finally realized (because my son was constantly in trouble for his behavior nearly everywhere, was hearing sports coaches say he couldn’t practice or play that day because he was just too much for them, he couldn’t keep friends because he was constantly angry) that his self esteem had become so low that his personality was already changing anyway, and I may have done more damage by refusing to at least try medication for him.

    My son has now been on medication, in addition to therapy, for a couple of years now and he’s doing great. Parent/Teacher conferences went so well last year that it did actually bring happy tears to my eyes. He feels good about himself. I no longer care at all what these other parents think or say because i know I’m doing what I need to in order to help my son turn out to be the best person he can possibly be, and he’s pretty amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment, Dawn. Oh medication. Everyone has an opinion on that topic, don’t they? I can completely relate to what you have shared. I can remember being at the exact same point, and asking myself the questions “am I a bad mom for medicating my child? or am I a bad mom for not even giving medication a chance?” I am so glad your son is doing well, and I hope that he continues on that path. From the sounds of things he has a pretty amazing champion in his life…YOU!


    2. Dawn, I too have a daughter who has severe ADHD and is medicated. We waited to medicate for at least six months after she was diagnosed. Like you, we tried diets, behavior charts, reward systems, the whole nine yards before starting medication. She was socially awkward and was left out of every birthday party, play date, and sleep over.
      I too am “that” mom. I get it.


  24. I pulled my children out of public school when my oldest was in 4th grade because of the constant bullying was experiencing (coming home many times with bruises, scrapes, cuts, etc. from being hit or knocked down and kicked, not to mention the non-physically violent stuff – verbal, or taking his stuff away, ripping up his homework, or dumping out his backpack; he was small for his age and an easy target) and the inability of the parents and school officials/staff to prevent it. I then homeschooled all three of my children through high school graduation. They are all doing well as adults including doing well socially. My oldest son has always appreciated that I constantly went to bat for him and has told me many times that my decision to homeschool was the correct one.

    Now, my middle son has a son in 2nd grade who is THAT child and I see from the other side how caring concerned parents, teachers, and other professionals cannot prevent every incident or “fix” the problem.

    There are no easy answers. I’ve seen both sides. I think this and the original article are very good for getting the conversation started. Understanding can go a long way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment, Trish. I was just having this very conversation with my mom. The way we respond to things is shaped by our previous experiences. So, if we don’t have any experience with a child who has challenges, it is often hard to understand what might be going on for the family. It is much easier to assume there has to be something people are not doing, because if they were doing something things would change. But the reality is everyone could be doing absolutely everything they possibly could. So how do we figure that out, and how do we then support them in their efforts? It could be as simple as a note of encouragement to the teacher, that you believe in them. It could be as simple as noticing a mom (or dad) who is often left out, and starting a conversation. Or, it could be taking a bigger step and starting to advocate for more supports and services in your school or your community. We have the opportunity to make a difference, and for me, becoming curious is the first step.


  25. Interesting articles and comments. Sadly, the only parents and teachers likely to be reading this are the ones that care, the ones that worry, the ones who try to make a difference for their kids and pupils.
    I am so blessed to have healthy, naturally curious and happy children. My hearts go out to all parents who see their child unhappy and struggling with their wellbeing at school. May all the teachers and caregivers find the patience and strength to be better each day.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. As for me… I was That Other Kid. The one who was always on the receiving end of whatever That Kid and his cronies felt like dealing out that day. I’d love to tell you how I told the teacher about what was happening, only for it to be brushed off with comments like “Oh, just ignore them” or “Don’t tell tales”. I’d love to tell you how teachers would ignore behaviour from that kid, because they didn’t know what to do about it or just felt it would be too much hassle, but would instead vent their frustrations on minor infractions by other children who were easier to handle. I’d love to tell you how attempts to defend myself were also met with punishments from staff for violent behaviour, when the actual aggressor could get away unscathed. I’d love to tell you how this left me feeling like some people are allowed to get away with anything they want, whereas I couldn’t do anything wrong without expecting immediate punishment. I’d love to tell you how my parents came in to speak about it, only for the head to declare that I must be a liar as there wasn’t any bullying in their school.

    Yes, I’m sure it’s hard being the parent or teacher of That Child. But it’s also hard being That other Kid who is legally obliged to go to a place every day where they will be forced into the company of someone they know is likely to verbally or physically attack them at any moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad you commented on this post. And I want you to know that I can very much empathize with your experience. Because my kid went through something very similar. I know that might not seem possible to you, but it’s true. I can tell you that I know how much it impacted my son, and I can tell how much it impacted you. I am so sorry for your experience and that the adults in the school were not able to understand what was happening for you. I want you to know you had “those” parents, who tried desperately to do what they needed to do to try and keep you safe. You have much respect from me.


      1. Thankyou, I do appreciate the comment.

        This post and especially the previous one hit me hard and took me back to then. It just felt like there was a lot about understanding “that kid”, and giving them the support they need and understanding they might have psychological problems or traumas, but nothing about the effect on their victims and the long term traumas they can cause in turn.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. I am a 44-year-old father of an eight-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. My wife and I are “those” parents. We knew our son was “different” very early on, but weren’t sure why until two years ago. He remembers everything, even from when he was only a year old. He taught himself to read at age 4, with only a few months of word-recognition practice with us. He has always had to repeat actions if he felt they didn’t happen how they were supposed to. And while he has learned to cope with some things, he still breaks down, has fits, cries (even in front of classmates), and sometimes gets out of control when he gets frustrated. The writing in the morning statement was spot on. Though he has an I.Q. of 133, his intelligence doesn’t always override the Asperger’s.

    As I read this article to my wife, the closer I got to the end, the more it touched me. I had difficulty finishing the last few paragraphs out loud to my wife due to the emotion welling up inside me. I did finish, however, with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat…Because we are “those” parents…I am “that” father…she is “that” mother…and we wouldn’t have it any other way. If you want to know, ask us. We would be delighted to share with you. Our pride and our concerns.

    Thank you, Karen, for saying what we did not know how to express.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your touching comment Boyd. I had tears in my eyes when I was reading it – I have been so touched by all the comments on this post. The strength, courage and hurt that so many of us carry. The beautiful thing is figuring out we are not alone. Discovering our voice and being confident in that. We are all champions for our children and for that I am grateful.


  28. I cried when I read this. I feel exactly the same way about many things. I have been struggling with potty training my 5 year old. I mentioned how upset I was about his potty training to my friend today, only to be met with cold silence. When I asked about her son she wouldn’t shut up. At his birthday this year everyone RSVPed, yet only family showed up. I am sick of people acting cruel towards his disability. I have always advocated for him. I will always be there for him. Thank you for sharing your journey. I am on mine now with hope of a brighter future.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I am currently in my teacher prep program and these articles are what keep me focused on obtaining my MA in education! There are so many of ‘tk’ in the school I work for and finding out how they best work is really motivating to keep me learning more. I hope to be a Kinder/1st teacher and make the positive connections with parents and their child right off the bat! πŸ˜€ Your letter really struck a chord and I felt like future educators can really take a note and start off on a good foundation. Thank you! I have shared with my classmates!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I really enjoyed your article. I am a mother who has not had to be THAT parent, but I am an Aunt of THAT kid, so I have seen both sides of it. I just wanted to ask what approach you would recommend for other parents to ask you about your child. As a mother, I would be offended if someone just asked me right out “what’s wrong with your kid?” or “why do they act like that?” I think some of us would be happy to talk to you in the parent line, but have no idea how to approach you without sounding accusing or insensitive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think this is a really great question, Jennifer, and I am so pleased that you asked it! I think all parents are different, of course, but for me I would have loved if someone had said “it looks like things might be pretty challenging for you. I just want you to know that if you ever want to talk, I’d be happy to listen”.

      You are right, sometimes the questions don’t get asked because others have no idea how to ask them.

      I would love to hear some suggestions from other parents about how they would like to be approached.

      Perhaps it is bigger than this. Perhaps it is about creating a network of parent and educator support within the school environment, with regular opportunities to learn more about anxiety, adhd, depression and other mental health challenges – together! If we start talking about it in this way, it may become easier to ask the questions.


  31. I cried reading that sitting here at work. It is so hard to be THAT parent and time and time again trying to figure out what else I can do to help him. My son is 8 and we have done anything and everything we can and will continue you to do that. I am the mother that calls his doctors office voice mail crying because I am at a loss on what to do. I spend hours going over paper work to see what is being missed at school and what else we can do. I too cry in meetings because I am hurt or angry. I feel sorry for him when he tells me no one wants to play with him. I blame myself all the time because I suffer from Bipolar disorder and so does he. That labels him so very much when we told the school. I am the parent that looks at my child as he is going to sleep each night and remind myself he is perfect to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I feel like you’re telling my story Karen! It was heartbreaking for me to see son through their eyes. I certainly never saw my smart, curious and funny boy who delved into everything science and could argue the pants off a lawyer.

    Hard though it was, I love being on the other side of the table now and at the meetings behind closed doors. I try to bring voices of “those parents” into the room. But it’s a really hard balance to strive for- being professional and keeping my Tiger Mom in check. I remind myself all the time that I live in a glass house, I am not a perfect parent and everyone is trying to do what’s best for the child.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jann, for the reminder that we also have to be gentle with ourselves. I am so glad you are sitting on the “other side of the table” because your wisdom and experience will shine through. You are a champion, Jann, and I am so grateful we have connected!


  33. I cried. I am that parent of that kid. We have struggled since she was 3 and in daycare. The calls to come get her, she’s out of control, it’s not fair to the other children, etc etc. She is now in kindergarten. No friends for her, no friends for me. No party invites, no play dates. I’ve withdrawn from society. Everyone is a harsh critic even when I bring out the skeletons and explain why, still harsh. I feel I have to apologize all the time. My kid isn’t satan, she doesn’t always get frustrated and lash out but when she does it’s always in public. She hits me, teachers and yes, even other kids. And I’m sorry sorry sorry. Yes, I have an ulcer. Yes I am so guilt-ridden everyday I can barely function. But guess what? She gets bullied, too. I’m sorry to all the critics who say I shouldn’t send her to school, but she’s super smart and she deserves the same things your little angels do. She is not the way she is because of anything she did. I’ll swallow the blame most of the time, trust me critics. I was in an abusive marriage that my daughter witnessed her father beating me. And yes, I should have left before it affected my daughter, and for that I’m so sorry critics. I’m sorry that my child, THAT child ruins your perfect existence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rebecca, you are not alone! Stop apologizing and start demanding help for your child.
      Please try to find some local parents who share your troubles and ask them for the names of good counselors, teachers, etc so you can get some support.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, thank you Miriam, I realized this morning I am not alone after reading these articles. My daughter and I are both in individual counseling and have been for 2 years. I was lucky enough to get her evaluated before kindergarten started so an IEP was in place her first day. The school staff has been so understanding and supportive! But, it has only been 2 months with this school and getting support. Her first daycare/school not at all. Mostly, it’s the other parents and my family that are harsh. It’s only 2 months into the school year and I’ve already had to explain and apologize to the other parents. Who won’t let their kids around mine, already, because her first day of school she had a “feral child” meltdown in the middle of the schoolyard and bit me when it was time to go home. But, this is the same child who draws me pictures everyday, who wants to be a teacher when she grows up, who learned perseverence by teaching herself to whistle, read and tie her own shoes this past summer just because she wanted to. She prays every night that the kids at school will be her friends “this day”. Someday I hope they do.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Rebecca, it is simply heartbreaking to watch your child go through this. My youngest son had no real friends till he was in high school. There he found true peers- those who had suffered in much the same way he had. It was a beautiful thing to watch those boys support one another.
        Until your child finds her soul mates, you’ll have to be her main source of validation and love. It’s exhausting sometimes, but oh so worth it. By the way it was my youngest son (now 23 ) who first sent me the original article, accompanied by a simple message “thank you Mom”
        Hang in there and reach out any time. Miriam

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you for sharing your story! I’m a teacher for kids with special needs, and it always makes me angry when parents of the typical children feel that their children are the only ones that deserve all things a school experience has to offer. I’ve taught in an integrated preschool for two years, and even though the said school was set up in an agency that was designed to help those that are blind, the school never failed to put typical children first. The parents of the typical children always made sure that I knew I had to serve their children regardless of what the kids with visual impairments needed, and I was livid. I wish these parents would realize that they more than likely will not have to ever fight the school, and the society to accept their child. I made sure I went the extra mile for the kids that needed it, but reassured all parents that I would all I could to make their child’s school experience a more positive one.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Rebecca, your child will find her friend. The kid who looks past the behaviors to see that she is funny and charming and fun. Those kids exist. Even in elementary school. I know because my kid is the one who will befriend your kid. Who learns to duck. Learns to give her a breather. Who tells her that today she is having a good day. Today she didn’t act out or eat her papers. Who comes home and says last year your kid did this and this and this. BUT THIS YEAR this year she’s doing so much better. This year your kid (yeah her) heard other kids picking on someone and said that’s not okay knock it off. My kid comes home and shares these stories. Then I struggle with how to share that with you. So I email the teacher and hope she passes it on.

      You daughter will find her kid. Her friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. I too am THAT mom… reading this brought tears to my eyes because I can relate to everything in it. My 21 year old son stood here while I also read it aloud to him… he too broke into tears because he was/is THAT child. Thank you for writing this and sharing what we all go through. It isn’t easy being us, but when it is all said and done, the challenges that we face are worth the rewards that we are given. I would love to hear more about your story..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment Pat, and thank you for sharing the post with your son. This journey takes a great amount of courage and strength, critical for us to honour all the successes — these are what can sustain us. I plan to keep sharing pieces of my story on my blog, so feel free to continue reading πŸ™‚


  35. I am THAT parent as well. I could have written this as well. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone and that it is all worth it for my THAT Kid (both of them!).

    Liked by 1 person

  36. As a parent of a “THAT” child, a few emotions run through me. Anger that other parents of children who do not have the challenges my child faces, hide behind names like “bullying.” My child does not “bully” your kid because she simply enjoys it. It actually couldn’t be further from the truth. THAT kid has a problem with self control, emotional stability and generally, has a severe, yes I said SEVERE behavioral development disability. Parents, please do not use “hot button” words like bullying to describe what my child is doing. Trust me, I am doing all that I can do stop, modify and correct her behavior. What she has will ALWAYS prevent her from having a normal life. It’s no different than a child with diabetes, it’s something they, THAT kid, will have to learn to cope with. YOU will have to learn to become more open minded and less judgmental of who MY child is.
    The second emotion is sadness as I know that my kid is really no different that yours. She smiles, laughs, talks and most importantly, is a PERSON just like your precious angel; yet she is far from living a “normal” life, even though I do my absolute best to provide her with that sense of “normalcy.”
    Lastly, I feel heard. Heard in the fact that my struggles are known. Heard in the fact that my child isn’t so alone. Heard in the fact that yes, OTHERS do care. My child’s voice is finally heard.
    I thank this wonderful writer and the teacher who inspired all of this. Our children finally have a place in the world that they “fit” into.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I was that parent 35 years ago and now am that teacher. Back then, autism was caused by “uncaring” mothers. What a crock! We went to parenting classes, only to be told to do everything we were already doing. Have faith, your love for your child will carry them through. My son’s two brothers and sister are loving, accepting human beings by being around their brother. I was so proud of them when they were in school and they stood up for THAT kid. (Not their brother) Have faith in the good in humanity. My son does live at home, but is the nicest, most helpful person around. He volunteers to help others. As a teacher, I am always on the side of the underdog as a result and I can empathize with the kids who are struggling. I have never been around a teacher who does not genuinely care for their students, even when I was the parent. I may have been blessed in that regard!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. I went back and forth in school from being the kid picked on by THAT kid to being THAT kid myself. My parents did everything in the world to advocate for me. The school system failed me in a lot of ways, though. THAT kid has feelings too, and while I totally agree that he or she needs to be taught rules, sometimes how those rules are taught needs to be different. It often isn’t the parents who are doing nothing.
    Thanks for posting this article!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. It all boils down to perspective. Yes, I am the mother of that child. That young girl diagnosed with PDD-NOS and suffers from school anxiety and social development delays. The one who is exceptionally bright,creative and so funny that somehow she can make you laugh even when she’s causing you enough frustration to tear your hair out. The one who cries every night for weeks before a new school year starts because she’s terrified that her new teacher(s) will hate her or that she’ll disappoint them. The one, who at 8 years old, told her teacher that she knew she was always going to be different from her classmates and was so sad about it. The one who gets so scared that she’s going to say the wrong thing to a peer or teacher that she won’t say anything at all or gets so frustrated that she can’t perform “perfectly” that she melts down and creates a distraction in the classroom. The young girl, who when faced with too many choices at once, can’t choose anything at all and shuts down completely. The child who is very much a kinesthetic learner who has to move, touch and fidget much more than many other children, but also can’t process too much stimuli all at once without going into overload.

    I am the mother of that child. That young girl who names all her stuffed animals and has given them all personalities and voices of their own. The one who, when being disciplined for a very poor choice, thought it was worse that she couldn’t participate in a fundraiser to help other children who needed it than losing all electronics at home. The one who loves babies and small children and will willingly “lose” to them so they won’t feel bad about themselves. The one who beams when you point out how helpful or mature or kind she behaved in any new situation. The one who wants to fall asleep holding hands.

    However, I am not the mother of that child that believes the world revolves solely around her and feels entitled to pass hateful judgments on her classmates. I am not the mother of that child that believes he should always go/be first every time.

    I am that mother. The one who emails her child’s teacher(s) before each school year with helpful tips, my concerns and to touch base. The one who has, on occasion, provided support to those teachers when they believed they could’ve handled a situation with my daughter a better way and asked me for my opinion. The one who has revised IEPs based on the communication. The one who has instructed teachers to send her daughter to the autistic support classroom if she is disruptive enough that it’s adversely affecting the learning of the other children in the regular classroom. The one who sometimes feels like she’s playing whack-a-mole…just when she thinks her child is past a certain issue or we’ve found an effective way to deal with it, it rears its head again in another manner.

    I am not that mother who believes her child can do no wrong and should never be disciplined because it’s always someone else’s fault or she has a “diagnosis”. I am not that mother who speaks badly about other children (or people, for that matter) around my children.

    I know I am very lucky to be the mother of that child and her twin brother. Reading this post and many of the comments, I know I am grateful that we live in a school district with wonderful, caring support for all the children. I’m very active in my children’s school and see children who need all kinds of support and teachers/staff who go out of their way to provide it however they can. As difficult as it is for my daughter now, it would be much more so if she weren’t receiving the loving attention from all the primary adults in her life. I feel for all those children and their parents who have not had that type of support. Every child deserves it and no parent should feel like it’s a battle to obtain it.

    Every child has issues. Every parent has issues. Every teacher has issues. Those issues affect our individual perspectives. Every child has different needs, learns differently, responds differently. As the adults, we need to be the ones to recognize and be sensitive to those facts and operate from the standpoint of being advocates, not just for our own children, but all the children.

    Oh, BTW, it seems I am also that mother who is long-winded. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  40. I am that parent.
    I feel alone and embarrassed.
    I blame myself.
    I felt as if I was reading my own story.
    He is 13.
    I put on a happy face every day knowing what is to come, another call from school.
    Thanks for sharing. I’ll never forget your words.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. 20 years ago, at the age of 7, he was institutionalized – twice – for two weeks at a time. He was the youngest person ever housed at the mental health facility. The psychiatrist told his father and I that he felt that our child was a danger to our entire family and that he believed that he should remain in the facility permanently. But, we were on Medicaid and they would only pay for two weeks at a time. We were instructed that he was to be locked in his room at night – the doctor insisted that the lock on his door be placed before he would let him come home – and he was not to be allowed to be alone with the other children for even a second. If I went to the bathroom, he came with me.

    He pushed my visiting friend’s children down the stairs. He did other things to his brothers. He was a violent, scary, dangerous mess.

    At that time, homeschooling was not an option for us. You see, THAT child was the oldest child in our family. We also had one that was 5 and one that was in diapers. My husband was a long-haul truck driver (that means he’s truly never home) and I could not handle trying to teach him and take care of the other kids and the house and everything else all by myself. And, it was illegal to not have the child in some form of school.

    What was I supposed to do? I had no support. Not one single person in my circle of family and friends knew what I was supposed to do. Mental health professionals wanted him to be locked up.

    I’m sorry that you had to be in the same classroom with him. But he wasn’t there for long. Thankfully, we eventually found the correct combination of medications that he was to take while at school. He went into Special Ed – I always hated IEP meetings – and was as excellent a student as he could ever be. He didn’t take one of the medications when he was home, so he still had a lot of behavior problems and still had to be under constant surveillance. His home life had to be severely structured. It was tough for the rest of the family, but it worked for him.

    Eventually he grew up. He’s now living on his own. He’s on SSI, because there’s no way that he could hold down a job. But he’s doing well. He still has severe learning disabilities – he recently remarked to me that while yes, he did graduate from high school, he was in special ed the whole time and upon graduation could barely read.

    He has outgrown all of his behavior problems and is no longer on any medications.

    I’m sorry to all those out there who got picked on by THOSE kids. But please understand… Sometimes, having THAT kid in your classroom just can’t be helped. Until a child is diagnosed with something, the school won’t take him out of your classroom and put him into a more appropriate setting. And I’m sorry that you had to deal with that, but what do you think THOSE parents are going through? When you fight and you fight and you yell “There is something wrong with my child, please test him!” and they blow you off and tell you that everything is normal, what are you supposed to do? My son didn’t get put into special ed until he was in the 2nd grade. For three years I fought with the schools to do SOMETHING. I knew something was wrong.

    Please recognize that parents can’t tell the school what to do – we aren’t their bosses. And it is illegal for our children to be out of school. In my son’s case, it took a psychiatric diagnosis and time spent in a mental institution before the school would actually listen to what I was saying.

    I’m sorry you had to deal with that. Hate my son if you wish. It’s not his fault, he was born with some wires crossed in his brain – he knew not what he was doing. And please stop assuming that the parents are doing nothing. Just because we aren’t successful doesn’t mean we aren’t doing everything that we can think of and following all the suggestions.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Your words are inspiring and overflowing with strength. I didn’t even get 2 paragraphs in and felt like you were writing about my life and my son. I am THAT mom and I completely understand the struggle and dedication it takes in dealing with the system and trying to scream loud enough someone who can help hears you.

    You are a great mother and your children are beyond lucky have you!!

    Liked by 1 person

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