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Welcome to Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid

Therapy and sanity for ordinary parents of special kids.

Back By Popular Demand — Guest Blogger, Diane Mierzwik

Today, we have a special treat. Don’t get too excited, it’s not ice cream. But it is just as good — with far less calories. In fact, we’re pretty sure this treat comes with no calories or trans fats. Plus, when you laugh, you get an ab workout. What’s not to love?   Please join us in welcoming back Guest Blogger, Diane Mierzwik. Be sure to read her recent work below and sign up for her blog. You’ll be glad you did. Take it away Diane…


I may have been a bit judgmental before I had my own child. It’s so easy to tell others how to do something after you’ve read a book or watched a show and witnessed how easily it can work, but lack first-hand experience.

Then I had my own child and everyone was more than willing to give me advice.

“Let him cry it out,” I was told when he was still a wee thing and suffering separation anxiety.

“Spanking is the only way to get through to them at that age,” I was told after the cherub threw a tantrum because I would not allow him to pull every bag of chips within reach off the shelves of the grocery store.

“If you’d be quiet, he’d talk more,” I was told when my three year old looked to me to articulate the things we both knew were in his head but he couldn’t get his mouth to say.

“You better have another one soon,” I was told as if another child would solve my poor parenting skills.

Every child is unique. Therefore, every parent and every parenting approach must be unique. But it is especially difficult to listen to well-meaning advice when your child has non-apparent disabilities, but everyone else thinks they know just what your child needs – it’s apparent to them.

“Don’t let him have a drink of water until he can say it correctly,” I was told by a well-meaning colleague when I handed my son his sippy cup even though he hadn’t said “cup” clearly enough for her.

“Make him read for twenty minutes each night and he’ll become a better reader,” I was told by a parent whose children were reading before they started kindergarten. She didn’t know that my son was dyslexic.

It always made me think of telling a parent whose child was in a wheelchair, “Just make him walk for twenty minutes each day, and I’m sure he’ll become a great walker.”

Things are not always as simple as they look, including the perplexed look on my face.

 “Just wait,” one friend told me after she explained the trouble her teenage son was getting into. She must have thought the look on my face said, “Won’t happen to me.”

Actually, I was thinking “Exactly what will this look like for me?”

It has taken me awhile to accept my own parenting skills and to accept that these skills, lacking as they may be, are my best effort. Accepting that about myself has allowed me to accept that about others.

When I talk to my sister-in-law about her adult son and how everyone in the family is blaming her for the trouble he is now in, for raising him wrong, I reassure her. “You did the best you could. That’s all any of us is doing.”

I just hope she remembers that love and acceptance when my cherub decides it’s a good idea to put toilet water in a squirt gun and then squirt everyone at the picnic.

For more great blogs from Diane, visit Tell her the Shut Up Sister sent you.




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