My boy got a diagnosis recently that answers a lot of the questions we’ve had these past 4.5 years. As scary as labels can be, it’s nice to be able to make sense of his quirks and this diagnosis has brought me a lot of peace.
Why peace? Well, with the label comes the tools to help him cope. Let me back up. If you don’t know, my 4.5 year old, Dane, has some delays and some quirks that mostly mean: a) he gets upset when other kids likely wouldn’t and b) he struggles with learning some things other kids pick up easily (even without being intentionally taught).
For those of you who are keeping up with my Dane’s story, you’ll be happy to hear that in 2017 he learned his name and, since then, we’ve had many conversations. In 2018, we are working on lots of new things like pencil holding skills and dealing with anger in a constructive way. His speech has improved greatly and he is still the sweetest, most affectionate little boy I know.
Right after the diagnosis, I wanted to hurry up and type up a little something and share it with the world. My very first instinct was to share it. Which is a weird first instinct, don’t you think? So, instead I sat with it for a bit and asked myself why. Why, in the middle of something like that, was my instinct to shout it from the rooftops?
And the ugly truth whacked me right in the gut: I wanted everyone to know so they wouldn’t judge him (or me) any more. I wanted to give you all a reason for the perceived bad parenting on my part or what looks like disrespect and disobedience on his part.
So, I am not going to come here and give reasons for anything. Instead, I am going to give myself a job: remember what other people think of me (or my precious boy) is none of my business. And, I’m going to (humbly) suggest you give yourself the job of remembering that you do not know everything going on in people’s lives (even blabbermouth people, like me).
Also, one great, big lesson I’ve learned is that there are three types of people in situations like this: the grievers, the fixers and the acceptors.
The grievers are the people who act like the world is over. Their eyes water anytime the topic comes up and we find ourselves consoling them. As a parent, consoling someone else about your child is a weird position to be put in, but it happens.
The fixers try to make it ok by discounting the whole thing. The fixers like to talk about someone they know who went through something similar and how it all ended up being completely normal . The fixers have good intentions, but it can be really frustrating to feel like someone is doubting or discounting something about your child you know to be true.
So, what can we do with this information? We can all try to be more like the acceptors: the people who don’t need us to do anything. The acceptor understands that this information is completely true and also understands that it’s all going to be ok.
So, there’s your update on my boy. I hope this pushes you to be more gentle with yourself and with others.
(Featured image by Markus Spiske)