When I tell a friend or acquaintance that my child has a delay, the immediate response (from my experience) seems to be “oh, it’s not that bad.” A response meant to be reassuring. Unfortunately, when this is the trend of conversation after conversation, the effect is not reassuring, but dismissive. So eventually when a diagnosis is made (if it is made. Many parents go years or are left hanging indefinitely with no explanation of what is wrong with their child.), the gut reaction is a definite feeling of validation, along with the grief and other conflicting emotions. The stages of grief that we usually associate with death are also applicable for divorce, job loss, familial estrangement, and accepting the possibly permanent limitations of one’s child.
- “Oh, she’s just a little behind. She’ll catch up.” This comes across as judgmental. It makes me feel like one of those hyper-helicoptering parents who can’t just let a child develop at her own pace and feels compelled to “fix” them.
- “When she gets a little older the other kids will notice more and won’t play with her.” Gosh, thanks. I wasn’t worried about that yet. I feel much better now. Not to mention that this has absolutely not been a problem with the super-social child I have.
Never bring up:
Now you know why I started playing the game.