How involved/understanding are your parents? — The Bump
Special Needs

How involved/understanding are your parents?

I am at a crossroads with my family. I have a younger sister who is special needs so I kind of thought my parents would understand. Since we got the official diagnosis my mom has basically said she will not listen to any autism talk. Today she said when you have a special needs child you just suck it up and know there is no improvement, no therapies, no help.

My mom of course is bipolar and has bad and good days. I feel at this point trying to have a relationship with her is not going to be good for me. FYI - I don't even really mention DD's therapies, progress, autism, etc that much. Just kind of mentioned she was officially diagnosed. Before that my mom basically said she didn't believe in autism.

My mom also seems resentful she didn't have the options we have with regards to therapies, respite care, etc. Then in the same breath she said she never researched what my sister was entitled to.

Am I awful for cutting her out of my life. She will not get help. When I suggested it today she said that I am evil and just want her to admit she neess help so my sister gets taken away. I feel so sad and numb and angry with her right now. I know I need to pull up my big girl panties and get on with my life but ugh.

I don't think I have to ask if this is more than a generational thing. I know alot of grandparents have some issues with the diagnosis, etc but my mom seems alot more severe than that. We left on bad terms and I feel bad but am tired of her ups and downs. Am I horrible if I just take a few months away from our relationship? I worry about not seeing my sister too. UGh, family sucks sometimes! No point really just venting!

Olivia Kate is almost 4!
Diagnosed with autism this year and doing great!

Re: How involved/understanding are your parents?

  • Besides having a special needs family member, I could have written your first 2-3 paragraphs myself. I am awaiting a diagnosis via a developmental pedi with DD (18 months) and my mom just sees autism as what one may see described in a movie or show on TV. When I told her about the evaluation scheduled by her pediatrician's office, she said "why? she is very loving, gives hugs, and doesn't just sit in the corner or anything."

    It was just very sad to me. Even with her speech therapy and now PT she claims I (mito genetic disorder that appeared at this age) never had any development problems and does not participate in therapy or home therapy. She is very in her own world and doesn't even really talk to me because I try and parent my daughter in my own way. My DD and I just moved back in with my parents.

    So I kind of get it, I don't have the option to detach physically so emotionally is the only way I can. My dad is ok though, but I do not know how he would take a behavioral dx.

  • I'm so sorry, what a rough thing to deal with at a time when you really need some support. I absolutely don't think it's wrong at all to keep your distance for awhile; you need time to process things yourself, and it's hard to do that when you're being stressed out by family members who aren't on board or who are actively attacking the process and you. 

    Your mom sounds so hopeless, and her projecting her resentment and negative experience/history/issues onto my kid would just kill me emotionally, to not have a sense of hope and optimism about resources and help and things being different now. It's hard enough to stay positive yourself when you're reeling from a dx, without having someone attack you and tell you how terrible it all is and that it'll never be any better. 

    You don't need that. Try not to feel bad about cutting her out. You can always revisit it later, but the energy you put into dealing with your mom is, IMO, better spent on your DD and yourself and other healthy, supportive relationships. 



    DD1, 1/5/2008 ~~~ DD2, 3/17/2010
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  • d.fd.f
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    I don't think you are awful at all if you cut her out.  It's important to keep yourself healthy and in a good place.  It doesn't sound like your mom is willing to allow that.

     It doesn't have much to do with ASD but I have very little contact with my mother.  She brings a level of negativity into my life that just isn't healthy.  It helps that she lives in a different state.  

    DS 09/2008

  • image d.f:

    I don't think you are awful at all if you cut her out.  It's important to keep yourself healthy and in a good place.  It doesn't sound like your mom is willing to allow that. 


    ^ This is so important.  However you decide to seek treatment or not, its your family and you are doing what is in your families best interest.

    The problem is, once you tell people your business, even when your not asking for their opinion, people feel they need to express their opinion on your business.  Whatever you decide to do for your situation,  you know what is in your families best interest, and stick with that.

    If her opinions are driving you batty (which is normal) keep interactions with her down to a minimum.  Remember she is also your childs grandmother, so its important for them to try to keep a family tie open; however if even with a minimal interaction there is still stress in the family - then cut out the relationship.  

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  • IME my parents/grandparents are very unsupportive of the kids therapies, think they're just fine and it's a waste of time. I mention nothing to them and seek support from my DH.

    It seems with your mom this opinion is exemplifed due to the fact that she's mentally ill. I think the other posters are correct in saying that it's best you limit your time with her for the benefit of your family.

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  • I only have my dad, but he is super critical of getting feeding therapy for DD, and states that I 'overreact', even though she was hospitalized for a week before Christmas due to her refusal.  He also calls me greedy, because I work and don't stay home with my kids.  I used to call him daily before all this happened with my kids, but now my husband has helped me understand that I need to distance him, and at least tell him less of the crap we are going through, to keep me sane.


    Good luck!  You would think our parents would understand this better, since they are older and wiser, but that is not always the case!

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  • My parents are involved in DS's life by providing their support. My mom reads about autism but she is studying to be a special ed teacher. Both my parents substitute so they understand and experience students of all walks of life.

    My DH does participate with taking DS to therapies but he is not supportive because he does not accept DS's diagnosis and does not admit his special needs to anyone. He wants the perfect child and is in denial.

    It sounds heartbreaking that your mom is not being supportive. She does sound like she needs some psychological help.

    I would try to surround yourself with people that are positive and are supportive like other PP's have suggested.

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  • image bubba2b:
    Curious what is your sister"s age?

    My sister is 31. Her mental capacity is maybe that of a 3 year old. She weighs over 400 pounds and has health problems. Mostly she is house bound so that what is what the problem is. I can't take her out of the house and if I visit, I have to expose myself and DD to my mom. Of course my mom's issues are compounded by having a special needs child who is housebound. Then again she created this by just sticking my sister in her room with food all day. .

    To say my family is messed up is beyond lol!

    Olivia Kate is almost 4!
    Diagnosed with autism this year and doing great!
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