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First, if you haven't yet answered the question here please do so before reading and responding to this post. Go ahead, we'll wait! ;)

Second, I want to thank each and every one of you that answered that question. I felt as if every answer was genuine, and I appreciate your candor and am in no way emotional over the answers given.

To be honest, there wasn’t a single response that shocked or even surprised me.

You see, I raised the child that we put under the theoretical microscope in that line of questioning. I was the parent struggling with that child at the grocery store, or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, or at the park.

However, contrary to the obviously popular belief, my son’s behaviors had very little to do with the parenting approaches I was taking with him in private. In fact, my approach was very much according to many textbooks and expert advice. I was trained in a Naval facility (I was not enlisted) in early childhood education and development; I was also a pre-school teacher from the time my son was a toddler until he himself became a pre-schooler.

My son was typically a polite, happy and perfectly healthy little guy who happened to be afflicted with severe behavioral challenges that would spring up at the most inopportune times. He saw dozens of doctors before he was 10 years old; he received twice as many diagnoses with mile-long names by the time he entered high school. Although I drew the lines at experimental medication, his history is not without occasional forays into those kinds of treatments.

Nothing worked. Not the recommended parenting methods; not counseling; not medications; and certainly not the hundreds of nights I spent crying myself to sleep out of pure exhaustion and frustration over a situation I could not only not fix, but couldn’t even begin to understand.

After a while, the ‘specialists’ began to doubt my abilities to raise my child. I could feel their judgment and scrutiny, much like I felt it from the other mothers and children in the Navy community we lived in.

My son never seemed to retain the idea of “consequences” for his behaviors, so it was assumed that I was not allowing him the necessary independence to make his own decisions (according to his age level, naturally) and learn from them. When he would break free from me in a store, or out of our house before dawn, it was assumed I was abusing him and he wanted to get free.

No one short of my family (and even they were dubious) believed that I could be doing anything right. It was a long, lonely road that I will never, ever forget. It has been a pain I have lived with, and a shame I bore, whether I felt as if I deserved it or not. Because, even before I met YOU, I knew you, and I knew your judgments.

But now, based on a new genetic discovery, I am feeling a bit of redemption. Not just for myself, but for other parents like me, with kids like my son, who have suffered in spite of trying to do everything right.

According to [Link Removed] I am NOT to blame! Genetic researchers and specialists have discovered that nearly 30% of children born have a glitch in their DNA that PREVENTS THEM FROM LEARNING FROM THEIR MISTAKES.  

I was so blown away by the discovery that all I could do was sit and cry. The pain and scorn I’d felt over the years, the idea that maybe it WAS all my fault... It all came rushing back.

For years I defended myself, and my son, against the judgments and assumptions of everyone we came in contact with. I sheltered him from himself, and was accused of coddling him. I flat-out refused him situations whose outcomes I could negatively predict, and I was called (by a family member!) a dictatorial type of parent.

And they were wrong. They were ALL wrong.

This has been a very emotional couple of days for me, and with the support and encouragement of my husband I’ve been gathering my thoughts and my emotions to bring this information into the light of day.  

Parents who struggle as I once did need to know that they are not alone; their child is only 1 of 30 out of every 100 to suffer with them. Because, whether you realize it or not, the child is suffering, too.  

As a result, I’m currently working on a non-fiction book project that will not only educate parents about this new percentile of afflicted children, but will also encourage the parents of the other 70% to stop and consider just how harsh their judgments can be.

If you haven't already done so, I invite you to read 2 pieces I have posted hereand here Of all of the writing I've done about Jonathan's childhood, these are the two that have elicited the strongest responses.

I’ve rambled here enough to my fabulous new friends, but I want to leave you with one more thing: I really, REALLY want you to reconsider what you think you know when you see an out-of-control child. Although I don’t discount the negligent parents we‘re all familiar with, that isn’t the only conclusion to be drawn. Sometimes we do everything right, and it still doesn’t work. Is it really fair to assume you know the difference between the two?


Feathermaye, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 20, 2008
    • I didn’t respond to your initial blog because honestly, I didn’t know who to blame...so I kept quiet...Yes children act up...Yes parents are very relaxed when it comes to discipline these days...But who am I to say what is what...Now I will say that I do look at a misbehaving child and say to myself...“OOOOh if that were my child....” but to blame the mother or the child...I blame Society...the government....People who frown on discipline...People who say we can’t spank or physically discipline our children...Now they have the upper hand because they are being taught in school to call the police if they are being spanked at home..and I tell each and every one of them to go ahead and call them...they can take them out of my house too...

      I’m sorry for you being prejudged...at the end of the day..we‘re all judged about something or another...For whatever reason. And it is wrong...Without knowing the facts.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote Oct 20, 2008
    • Heather...you don’t ever ramble.  I find your contributions to be interesting, informative and thought-provoking.  Lucky is the boy (or girl) who has you in his/her corner.  Your unwaivering commitment to your son is admirable and I commend you.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Alleyne-Hill wrote Oct 20, 2008
    • I just read and re-read one and two....and I am so very sorry...You are a wonderful, strong woman (and I thought you were just funny...lol)...More children need an understanding, patient mother as you have demonstrated...And I totally get it...I had a lighbulb moment...I’m sorry!!!!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Oct 21, 2008
    • soulful40, I appreciate you going to the other posted items to get a better understanding of what I was referring to. And no apologies are necessary. As parents who love our children, we‘re all in this together!

      Linda (daphne), quite simply: Thank you. I appreciate your candor and support of a situation that, even after almost 20 years, is still developing for me.

      Everybody else: Please consider giving me some feedback on this. Maybe I should have directly asked for your input in the post rather than assuming it would be forthcoming.

      As women, based on what you shared your beliefs to be, how do you feel about this new information? What are your thoughts on the changes that will most definitely take place in the field and practices of parenting?

      I don’t only WANT your feedback, I NEED it if I hope to make a difference.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Almostfive0 wrote Oct 21, 2008
    • Feather...
      First of all you don’t need to explain why you posted it the way you did. I am glad you did. You asked for our honest answers. Had you presented to us in a different way you may have gotten a lot of sympathy but maybe not a whole lot of honesty.
      That said,...
      I said in my comment that I try not to judge but I usually do wind up judging the parent.

      It’s the same as when we see a parent that we think is being over the top in their dicipline we tend to judge based on our assumptions. No one knows what the true story of the situation is.  

      As I mentioned I have five nephews that are considered “special needs” and I have seen first hand how hard it was on my sister’s raising them. Yet I still judged.

        

      I want to thank you for your post because it shows me that no matter how much I work at being non judgmental and being mindful and aware of my role in life I will always be presented with tests.
      I have learned once again it is not about my destination but what I do along the way getting there. And also to be respectful of other peoples process.
      I thank you for the lesson and respect you in your honesty.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Coachmombabe wrote Oct 21, 2008
    • Wow! I have nothing but respect for you, heathermaye! As I said, we had a strong willed child ourselves. Though our Jesse may not have the same issues as your Jonathan, I think we truly shared very similar frustrations and exasperations! My mother once told me when Jesse was about 3 or 4 “Give me that child for a week and I’ll have him straightened out!”  

      He’s 22 and still doesn’t always learn from his consequences. But he is maturing ever so slowly and has many other redeeming qualities.

      Thanks for sharing this with us. I, too, feel a little vindicated! ;o)

      Blessings all,
      Cindy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote Oct 21, 2008
    • Heather,  

      You HAVE made a difference.  You brought to our attention that sometimes it really isn’t NURTURE, but NATURE.  Where parenting is concerned, this is an enormous eye-opener for me and i suspect for others, too!  You have also started a conversation about parenting and the scrutiny that parents are under...therby helping us to consider the idea that there is more to it than effective/ineffective parenting when an uncomfortable situation occurs between parent and child.  Perhaps without even knowing it, you have shifted the attitude from disdain to assistance and understanding.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Oct 21, 2008
    • I didn’t see the question until just now...therefore I didn’t answer it.  But if I could have answered it I would have said...“NO..I DO NOT JUDGE THE PAREntS“..and this is why I would answer that way.  I use to be a kindergarten aide for 5 years about 4 year ago.  During that time, I had two little boys (at different years) that were autistic...well..one was hyperlexic-which is better form of autism.  Anyway...they would sometimes have their moments...and I knew that it had nothing to do with parenting skills and everything to do with a disorder.  It’s funny that I should read this today.  Just the other day while having lunch in a restaurant..my co-worker and I witnessed a little girl who was really acting out.  My co-worker made the remark that this little girl was really being bad.  I told her that she might be autistic.  You could tell the parents were having a time with her.  I guess after you have witnessed that type of behavior you sort of know.  So for me..I’m always observing the child and his or her behavior and trying to figure out what might be the problem.  But that is just me.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Oct 21, 2008
    • Carol, I am absolutely in awe of the spiritual growth you can find in everything around you. I hope one day to be at such peace myself. Thank you for sharing not just your thoughts with me, but your heart, too.

      Cindy, I knew I recognized kindred spirits in you and your Jesse. Jonathan, although getting closer day by day, still isn’t achieving those imprints that should have been made a long time ago. However, based on my bull-headed approach to being his mom, I remain hopeful! Thanks so much for your contribution to this discussion.

      Linda (daphne), if it wasn’t impossible (and just a little bit creepy), I’d give you the biggest kiss right now. Sincerely. You are more inspiration to me than you’ll probably ever realize. Thank you so much for your support of what I’m trying to do, even as I’m not entirely sure yet what that is. LOL!  

      maryclark, I just want to say thank you for not being amongst those who rush to judgment based on what society has said are the differences between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ parents. I’m counting on you and other like-minded women to help spread the word of this discovery in the hopes of dispelling the social misconceptions. But no pressure! ;)



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dee Dee Shaw wrote Oct 21, 2008
    • Coachmombabe,
      My mom has done the same thing to me. It infuriates me! Heather, I answered more fully where you posted the question. I guess some of that answer should have been posted here. :)

      We have several ‘challege’ kids. Some just strong willed, and one who would be labeled on the spectrum if I cared to have him evaluated. I prefer to fight the battle at home, and not put him in a box. We have seen great improvements with him, though I know we still have many more challenges. If money were not an issue, we’d be in a better place with him. These kids need alot of nutritional support. I wish we had an endless amount of funds to provide what he needs. Without nutritional support for me, I’d be bedridden more often than not, and undoubtedly struggling with depression. To some it may seem like I am a bad mom to put me ahead of him, but I look at it like the airmask instructions on the airplane. I couldn’t be a decent parent without my supplements.
      When we had Michael on a special program through Mannarelief, he was improving by leaps and bounds both cognitively and behaviorally. They changed the qualifications so we had to drop down to a much lower level of support for him. My oldest (the one who left at 17) seems to be one of those kids who doesn’t learn from mistakes too. She has definitely regressed since she left home. Both of these kids are extremely intelligent.  

      I relived much of the pain and embarrassment I have gone through with these two when I read your post Heather. It is so hard to not condemn yourself when it seems like everyone else does. Even my family gets in on the ‘bad parenting’ game - my mom especially. She helped my oldest when she left home. Long story... and thankfully God gave me the grace to not harbor hard feelings.
      I have learned to look at life through the eyes of others, and try to see their perspective (even if I disagree.) We all wear colored glasses, and it distorts what we see. I was at a seminar one time and they told a story about this. It SO opened my eyes to see things differently. If you are wearing green tinted glasses, my white shirt will always look green, no matter how hard I try to convince you that you are wrong. I have learned to let go and not let what others think or say hurt me as it did before. Just know that the rest of the world (those without challenging kids) wear glasses that are tinted. :)  

      Sharing Hope,

      Dee Dee



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote Oct 21, 2008
    • I’ll bet our husbands wouldn’t think it was so creepy!  Men love that girl on girl stuff!  LOL



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Oct 21, 2008
    • Oh, Linda, that is another blog, another day!!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Oct 21, 2008
    • And it would be a good kiss, too! :‘X



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dee Dee Shaw wrote Oct 21, 2008
    • Okay, now ya’ll are grossing me out. Stop with this kissy kissy stuff already! LOL



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