Searching for answers this past year has been tough. It's been tough on us as parents and as a couple. It's affected my outlook on life, blunted my sense of humour and made me somewhat afraid of the future.
It's been difficult parenting my daughter who we're 99% sure is autistic. Both before and after we found out there was something "not quite right" about her. The one place though that I had counted on to be supportive and understanding would be within the family circle.
So it doubly hurts to find out that one twig of the family thinks we're bad parents. We haven't wanted to explain to everyone what's going on with E as we are in the process of getting a diagnosis and it seems premature to say she has something wrong or different about her when we have no official word. Although we are 99% positive there is something there.
I was informed by family recently though that we ought to talk to a certain family member as they had been making comments about our daughter and how her behaviour is related to poor parenting. Imagine my chagrin. when I told my husband and he told me reluctantly he had a similar conversation with another family member. Of course, it went further because they told him more than they did me. Apparently a relative has made it known to the family their disgust of E's behaviour and their opinion that it stems from bad parenting. Our more supportive family members was try to stress to us that we need to talk to this relative so they would understand and not assume we're bad parents. Really? I need to explain to someone that I'm not a bad parent just because my kid acts out when she gets over excited. I can't believe how hurt I am.
This relative has kids and while I'm not always fond of them, it never occurred to me to question their parenting skills when their child acts up at my home. That is, after all, what kids do. They are constantly learning what is and isn't okay. We don't even have anything definite to tell them. So how do I face them now? I don't even think telling them that E mostly likely is autistic will change their opinion at all. I'm learning fast that people can be very narrow minded about special needs.
So why do I even care? Cause I am that freaking insecure about my parenting skills. Parenting an autistic child is like skating on the edge. You never know what will work or what will be the wrong thing to say and believe me it seems like I'm always saying the wrong thing. Your frustrations often override your patience and sometimes all you can do is sit on the floor and cry.
So criticism hurts no matter who gives it. Even dumb ass relatives.