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Dear Grandparents, We Need You

Alethea Mshar
Special needs mom and Blogger
12/23/19  9:15 AM PST
Dear Grandparents, We need You

Parents of children with special needs speak up about the support they need from grandparents…even when it seems counterintuitive.

In planning for this article, I bugged a few of my friends to find out what they wish their parents understood better about their kids with disabilities or medical conditions. Every single one of them responded with a paraphrase of:

“I wish my parents realized that my kid’s behavior is not just bratty and that I’m not just letting them get away with being brats. We have to do things differently, we trust the experts who teach us behavior management, and need our parents to support that.”

Our generation parents differently than our parents did. We have data that discourages spanking and even time outs. We spend hours a week in therapies and with experts educating us on the best way to support positive behavior and minimize challenging behavior. When our child does something inappropriate we often ignore it, reluctant to give it any more attention than necessary. We try to avoid yelling because we know it escalates behaviors. We do things like co-regulate or hug a child who is about to lose it.

From a grandparent’s perspective, it probably looks completely backward. We know it’s not how our parents did things, and it might appear that we’re letting our child get away with too much. And that our child’s behavior doesn’t match their age and size, and we know better than to expect that it will. We understand that grandparents don’t get it because we didn’t get it at first either. Like I said, much of what we do is counterintuitive. But we need our family and friends behind us, we need you on the same page. Trust us and let us show you what we’re doing, how we do it, and why. Please understand that we’re competent and doing our best.

Follow our lead and make notes of your questions to ask when we have time to talk away from the child. We’re the experts on our kids, and we are happy to share our knowledge. We’ll send you articles. We have many, so if you need a better understanding or want the evidence behind our method, please ask. Come along and meet with our experts. Whether by attending educational conferences or meeting our behavior analyst to ask questions or going to therapy and parent training with us, we welcome you to learn the methods we embrace.

Give us a chance to show you how we guide our children and help us achieve our goals together as a team.

Grandparents, we want you, we need you, and our child does too!


For More Articles Related to Parenting Children with Special Needs:

inclusion on the playground

Alethea Mshar is a Special Needs Mom and Blogger.

Read her blog, Ben’s Writing, Running Mom

Follow her on Facebook


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