Back in November 2014, I wrote a post titled I Am “that” Parent.
For many years, I have heard and read comments about how parents were not “parenting” their kids, that somehow if a child is behaving in an unexpected way it MUST be the fault of the parents. It seems like it is far too easy to jump to conclusion that parents aren’t meeting their responsibilities, without taking the time to dig a little deeper to find out what the real story is.
I wanted to shed a bit of light on the things families are doing to try and get support and help for their children, and also identify the barriers and roadblocks that we face along the way. And there are many!
When I wrote the post I thought to myself, “wow, I might get 100 views of this one”. I completely underestimated the impact the post would have, and how many people would be able to identify and relate to it. The post has been re-blogged numerous times, highlighted in a few different newsletters and featured on The Mighty, Getting Smart and The Huffington Post. The post is read daily, and I am honoured that I have been able to put into words what so many families are feeling.
I wasn’t always “that” parent. It took me several years of researching, reflecting, being curious, and risking failure by not doing it right. It took a tremendous amount of courage to start speaking up and then speaking out. Becoming “that” parent has been a journey in and of itself. I am still learning!
Sometimes I hear from families about how they wish they could be “that” parent. My reply is always this. Maybe you are not “that” parent. Yet. When the time is right, you will be. Being the parent of a child who struggles means that you need to always be prepared for the unexpected. You always need to take care of yourself and your child and family first, no matter how much you want to make a difference for others.
We all find our way there eventually, in our own time, in our own way.
To all of you out there who are “that” parent, I salute you and applaud your courage. To all those who are not quite there yet – you will be, I promise.
Many thanks for all your support.