Some of us are blessed with wonderful family, both blood and in-law. They are supportive, understanding, and even if there are misunderstandings at times, what family does not have them, they will respectively ask questions and give parents of Exceptional Children the floor to answer these questions about their child’s sometimes unusual or unexpected behavior. I am happy to say that both sides of our family are in this category of understanding our struggles, and when confused, they ask questions and do not accuse us of being bad parents or Michael of being rude. Not every Exceptional family is blessed like this, however. It is sometimes even necessary to cut off contact with certain family members in order to preserve yours, your partners, and child’s or children’s sanity. Before cutting off ties completely and drastically though, there are things you can do to try and make the situation work for everyone. Here are some ways you can navigate those difficult family situations.
6 Ways to Navigate Difficult Family Situations:
- Take care of yourself: Self-care is always at the top of the list, but really make sure that you are in top form physically, mentally and spiritually by doing things you love, resting when you can, so you are strong to stand your ground when rude comments come your way.
- Take care of your child and partner: This is crucial when you have family members who are judging how you parent, what therapies you do, and how your child is developing. Once you and your partner have your own personal philosophy, you can quietly silence rude remarks with a this is the way we do it.
- Have an understanding that fighting, insults, and rude remarks to you or your child will not be tolerated: Speak to difficult family members in advance, and explain how hard fighting and tensions are for everyone, especially your child. If they cannot remain quiet, you will not be able to see them with your child present. Give a chance, but not repeated chances.
- Ask for advance notice if you are invited to big family outings: Advance notice for going to big family events is important. This way you can plan it out with pictograms, a social story, and your child will have time to process everything.
- Don’t let difficult situations or a bad day affect your state of mind: This is a tricky one, but so true. You will have difficult situations with family members and friends, but don’t let it color how you function as a parent. You live this life 24/7. You know your child better than anybody. A bad day is just that. A bad day.
- Share only what you are comfortable sharing with those you trust 100%: This is a golden rule. If there are members in your family who when you disclosed personal information about your child did not support you or made you feel worse, share only the basics if that. Your mental health and your child’s are your top priority.
Exceptional Parents, what has your situation been with your family members? How have you handled difficult family and friends, and are they still in yours and your family’s life? Remember, you get to choose whom you keep in your life and whom you do not. You also are your child’s voice and advocate. They need people who will love and support them for all they are as you do. Make the choice that is the right one for your Exceptional Family. Until next time.