Do you care what other people think? -

Do you care what other people think?

This is pretty simple to ask and perhaps a bit more difficult to answer. I’m asking you this question as it relates to parenting but more specifically, special needs parenting.

Do you care what other people think?
Personally, I have learned not to wear my heart on my sleeve, so to speak. This is especially true when putting yourself out there, as I have.

Having said that, as a special needs parent, there aren’t a whole lot of absolutes, especially when it comes to parenting kids with Autism, or kids with Autism and very, very serious mental heath issues.

Generally speaking I can take a few punches from people over parenting decisions my wife and I have made. Whatever….right?

However, I tend to become more aware of criticism when it’s over something that is impossibly difficult to manage and we are absolutely doing the best we can.

It’s really easy to sit back and watch our lives through your computer monitor but it’s something entirely different to walk even 10 feet in our shoes. I would imagine that’s true for a lot of you out there. People shouldn’t judge unless they’ve walk a few feet in your shoes.

That stuff really gets to me.

I don’t so much take it to heart or feel like, dang, they’re right, I’m a terrible parent. It just sucks to have someone armchair quarterbacking. Most of the time, I highly doubt that they have any experience and they just like to stir things up.

Even so…. It still gets to me at times…

How about you? Do people’s thoughts and comments about your parenting ever get to you or do you not care what they think?

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I had a friend whose oldest child was “easy” — compliant, polite, loving, sweet.  And she told me that secretly inside, she patted herself on the back for being a good parent during those years and she looked at people with difficult kids as if they hadn’t done as good a job.  Secretly, of course, because she is a wonderfully kind person who would never say anything to another parent.  But inside, she was sure she was a good parent.   And then her youngest was born.  And this child was different:  defiant, challenging, etc.  She said she got a whole new perspective on parenting and what was due to the child and what was due to the parents.  She is a very smart, very intuitive, very kind person — and she fell into that trap 100%.  
It’s probable that the looks and remarks that parents of difficult kids get come from people who just haven’t had the tough child yet (and maybe they never will).   There is nothing you can do about that, is my experience.  You see the look in their eyes — scorn or pity or condemnation — and you just paste a smile on and go on with your life.  It’s painful, no doubt.  But there is nothing to be done.


dotdash very very well said. That story could be a great teaching tool.


Thank you for sharing this perspective. While I don’t see my child as difficult defiant challenging, but, unique, brilliant, speculative, loving, and a blessing, I guess there are those don’t see the gift of what our children really are. But moreover I feel compelled to share that I believe something can be done. We can teach others to show compassion and kindness to all. Advocate and share what we need. That’s how people learn. That is how people understand. So I share just as rob does int the believe that many will see and change their narrow views. Will accept that just because my child is different doesn’t mean he less or to be condemned. Just my opinion on how I believe my efforts and all or efforts will change the future for our children and deliver us the acceptance and inclusion they deserve.


Mvanhoek well said.  🙂


Mvanhoek “I feel compelled to share that I believe something can be done.”
I have the same thing. I run a huge missing persons database — the largest privately run one on the internet in fact. It’s basically been my only accomplishment in life. And there are other MP databases, and on my blog a few times I’ve posted lists of what I think those databases should do. Suggestions for improvement, basically. It’s basically me thinking aloud, and also trying to get a discussion going in the comments. But a few times I’ve had people basically be like, “Who do you think you are, telling those other databases what to do? What, you think you’re better than them?”
It’s pretty hurtful when they say that; I don’t think my database is better, just different. And a “consumer” so to speak — and a taxpayer; many of the missing persons databases are publicly funded — I feel like I’ve got a right to provide feedback. But some people don’t get it.

Michael Henshaw

Lets face it, we all do to a point, but find that our skins have become calloused by comments of the ignorant.

Lee Trimnal Hutson

Not really !!


I have the picture of the kitten looking in the mirror. I gave it to my boyfriend as a surprise gift one time. He loves cats.


thefuzzycabbage Mvanhoek very well said.  I totally understand.  Do you remember the movie Powder? If not, rent it.  He has the ability to make others feel what someone else if experiencing.  How perfect would that be. Talk about gaining perspective.


I would have to admit, it hurts. The stares at my child and me when out in public, the comments from people who intend for you to hear them, but act as a whisper was said… But more so, from the people who know us. Know we give every second of our heart and energy to give our son all he needs. The ones who say maybe more discipline , maybe psychotic meds might help.. Why don’t you consider putting him someplace… Hate that you’re always stuck with him.. It’s baffling and sad to me. But it’s easy to look in and make judgements and decisions when you don’t have to really do it yourself…. Those hurt. But I smile to them all. I nod and say thank you. And I turn back to doing what I do. Advocating and fighting to gain health for my son. Ill take all the hits and hurts. So he won’t. Because he carries more than any one I know and wakes every day believing today will be a good day.


Yes and no. I try not to let what others say get to me because most of the time they really have no idea what they are talking about. It’s easy to stand back and pass judgment, while it is completely different to actually experience something firsthand. A lot of people are quick to hand out parenting advice, and from my experiences, I’ve found that most of them do not have any experience raising a special needs child whatsoever. So really they have no room to speak because their approach to parenting might actually be completely different if they were raising a special needs child. I think that’s the key issue there. A lot of people might have ideas about how they plan on parenting, but when and if they end up raising a special needs child, they find themselves adopting a slightly different parenting style than they had expected to implement and they find themselves doing a lot of improvising.
On the other hand, it can rub me the wrong way sometimes, mostly because it can feel annoying and rather intrusive and it seems rather rude in my opinion. Complete strangers will walk up to you and make their comments like they are the parenting police, as if they have the wisdom and authority to dictate how others raise their children. If they’ve been successful with their parenting, then good for them. However, not every child is going to respond favorably to the same parenting styles and techniques. Parenting should be approached in such a way that it is what works best for the child, what the child best responds to. These people, however, think what works for one, works for all which simply isn’t always true.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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