Inside you’ll find: Encouragement to help you have confidence as a sensory parent
Without a word, the other mom at the park made her opinions of my parenting clear.
“You’re spoiling them.” could be read as clear as day on her face.
It felt crippling.
With too many words, my childless sister gave me her thoughts on my parenting failures.
“You’re making excuses.” still echoes in my brain, causing me doubt.
As a sensory parent, there’s a constant internal struggle as you weigh whether your child’s struggles are motivated by sensory needs or behavior issues. That’s hard enough.
But then there’s everyone else. Everyone throwing in their two cents that, at best, merely hurts your feelings, and at worst, paralyses your ability to take confident action.
Scroll to the bottom for a VIDEO I recorded about this topic!
This post isn’t going to focus on your immediate family.
If you’re looking for help with that, read the post written by my husband to yours about being a dad to a child with SPD. This post about sensory kids’ siblings is also super helpful!
Here are some small steps you can take to help sensory kids EVERYWHERE!
Show Others Grace and Be Humble
Most people who aren’t supportive of your sensory parenting simply lack knowledge. Let’s admit, we were ALL once ignorant of sensory needs and probably hurt others without even knowing it.
Instead of getting all up in arms about a comment or a look, let’s choose to patiently teach others about sensory needs.
I find that a really useful and disarming way to engage skeptics and critics is to ask questions. This is helpful not only to find out what they know (or don’t know), but also to determine what they’re real hang-up is.
Growing up I was homeschooled and that meant having to explain all the time about how I didn’t go to public school, my parents were not crazy, and I wasn’t cutting myself off from social interaction. So I get it. Explaining yourself can be tiresome. Have patience anyway. Remember that people can only interact with what they have some kind of experience with. If you take the time to let people know about SPD, then it will be that much easier for your own children. That means they won’t be misunderstood or have to work so hard to be understood.
I homeschool my own kids and now if I tell anyone, “oh we homeschool” they don’t give me a blank stare or come back with “what do you mean? I’ve never heard of that.”
We owe it to our kids to kindly and gracefully explain to other what makes our kids special and unique.
So how do you gracefully ask a question of someone who’s questioning your parenting ability? Well, I’m not always sure about the specifics of it. What I am sure of is that one must have a humble attitude. Pride makes us defensive, self-justifying and dismissive because we are thinking only of us. Our Fears. Our Concerns. Our Abilities.
So if pride is self-centered thinking, humility, as so many wise men have said, is NOT falling into the trap of thinking less of ourselves. That would just bring us back to the problem of doubt. Humility is thinking of and being concerned with others.
Maybe the critic does have an ides you can use. Is there some experience they have had that is motivating their criticism? Ask them. Find out. Pick their brain. Engage them with the goal not of proving yourself to them or to yourself, but enlist them as a teammate.
This doesn’t mean you have to put your own sensory knowledge aside. See what they know. Maybe your critic is also a skeptic.
Have they heard of SPD? Do they know it is a medically recognized disorder? What would be their own advise, taking into account your child’s sensory needs, for determining the differences between sensory responses and behavioral issues?
You won’t need to accept everything they say; that’s not the point. If you get them to answer questions along these lines, then they have stepped into your world. Neither of your is only thinking of yourself anymore.
Another big step to bridge the gap is to BE teachable. We must remember that our kids are whole persons, not merely sensory beings. We are imperfect parents who need to continue to examine our parenting and change what needs changing.
We don’t want to be paralyzed by doubt, but that doesn’t mean we stop taking advise.
But growth won’t happen if we have a wall up whenever someone sees the situation differently. It’s humbling to be critiqued, but it’s for your kids’ good.
Awareness of sensory issues is definitely on the rise, but if it’s not an issue in your friend’s family, they probably have a very shallow understanding of SPD.
One of the main reasons I pour my heart and soul into this blog is to provide resources for sensory parents to share with others. Hop over to my Facebook page or Instagram page and share on your personal profiles.
You have no idea what an impact you can make by spreading knowledge of sensory needs, not just for your kid, but others who are struggling.
Remember Who You Are
The looks and the words are still going to come. I wish I could sweep them all away for you, but I can’t. When those times come, you need to give yourself a truth bomb. You were chosen to be your unique child’s parent, flaws and all. You know them better than anyone and you love them more than anyone.
You can parent well without others approval or understanding. Pass grace and knowledge on to your accusers, and then get down to the real business of being the best sensory parent you can be by the grace of God.
Looking for an incredible tribe of sensory parents that just “get it”? Join our FREE private facebook group where we lift each other up on the hard days and cheer on each others wins.
Have more questions??? Check out this wildly popular series of Sensory FAQs and become a more confident sensory parent today!
Don’t miss my Facebook Chat with other sensory parents about Being Judged! Play the video below!
Jaime Spencer says
This such a great post! So well written to exemplify how it feels to be judged about your parenting! Thank you.
Thank YOU! I’m glad it was encouraging!