Updated: Aug 26, 2021
The festive new year is right around the corner, and for some parents, this is one of the most stressful times of the year. Some may be relieved with the strict visiting rules. For others, it causes anxiety and much need prep for managing situations they might encounter.
One of the most challenging things parents face is dealing with tactless comments and questions from relatives about their child. Most of the time, these remarks arise from love for the child and consideration for the whole family's well-being, but these relatives don't realise that the long-term prognosis is often unknown. These questions and comments don't always come out the right way, and the fallout may ruin family relationships.
We've put together some suggestions as a mini cheat sheet when you encounter these insensitive questions and remarks that will give you the ability to respond positively and constructively.
1. “She's just going through a phase. It will pass. You’re over-reacting!”
Respond with: “Yes I have a lot of concerns, I do want to talk about it, but only if you’re ready to listen.”
2. “But he looks normal to me.”
Respond with: “My child does need support in these areas, and we’re working on these things with his therapist…”
4. “Why don't you just…?”
Respond with: “I guess there are no easy answers in this situation, but I am trying to do what is best for [child’s name] and I would appreciate your love and support.”
5. “Have you tried _____?”
Respond with: “Yes/no I have/ I haven’t. Thank you for sharing this with me, if you have any research to share with me, do send it to me in an email. I will also discuss it with my pediatrician.!”
6. “She still hasn't started talking?”
Respond with: “Well, here is a list of other things my child can do or is working on at the moment, we might not be there yet, but I believe in [child’s name] and we will get there.”
7. “It's good that you're doing something about your child.”
Respond with: “I am working hard to do what’s best for my child. It has been difficult for me to observe every single thing that is happening, but we’ve got a great therapist and they’re working very hard with [ child’s name].”
8. “Did you read this article/see the news story about _____?”
Respond with: “Yes/no I have/ I haven’t. Thank you for sharing this with me, I will discuss it with my paediatrician”
9. “Why do you have to be so sensitive about this? I am just trying to help.”
Respond with: “I guess there are no easy answers in this situation, but I am trying to do what is best for [child’s name] and I would appreciate your love and support. If you have any research you want to share with me, send it to me so that I can discuss it with [child’s] doctors and therapist.”
10. Radio Silence – no phone calls, e-mails, birthday cards, or holiday visits.
Respond by picking up the phone and saying, “How are you? I was just thinking about you today.”
As a parent, you may have at times felt alone, unheard, angry, disappointed. But through all of those tough times, one thing has remained a fact. You love your child, and you do your best to help them live a joyful life every day.