Why do Special Needs parents feel so guilty?

I’ve been raising 3 boys with Autism and various other special needs, some very serious and others, not so much.

I get pissed off, frustrated, overwhelmed and even resentful when it comes to my kids at times. They can honestly drive me crazy.

Does that make them bad kids? Does the fact that I can feel these emotions towards them, somehow mean I love them less? Does this make me a bad parent? Again, not a chance in Hell!!!

If I talk about this stuff, will that make people think I have bad kids? 

Here’s the truth. Who the hell cares!!!!!!

People are going to think what they want and you will never have any control over it. All that matters is what you know in your heart to be true. That’s easier said than done but it’s a lesson learned over many years of dealing with the public.

The bottom line is that you’re human. You’re going to feel things. It’s what you do with those feelings that matter.

I have made the choice to embrace those feelings for what they are, a reminder that I’m human and have limitations.  It’s not healthy or productive to feel guilty about these emotions but we all do this.
The key here is to recognize your limits and work within them. If you need to put yourself in time out, do it. I know that sounds silly but I do it all the time. I also write down what I’m experiencing because it helps me to process those feelings, deal with them and then put them behind me.

Talking to someone is helpful as well.

The one thing you never want to do is take it out on your kids.

I know we don’t often have the help we need and rarely get breaks.  The truth is that you’re so much better off walking out of the room for a few minutes and getting centered, rather than screaming, yelling or even worse, hitting your child.

I will say this until the day that I die. One of the toughest parts of being a special needs parent is dealing with all the emotions we experience on a daily basis.  It’s no joke and it’s certainly not easy but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  😀

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Adrienne Signorelli Robertiell

Thenn add in having additional children. The guilt of balancing it all.

Excellent point….

Adrienne Signorelli Robertiell

Thenn add in having additional children. The guilt of balancing it all.

Excellent point….

Kim Gebhardt

I don’t think parental guilt is exclusively for parents of special needs kids, I think most parents have it. My best friend feels guilty because her job as an attorney means she can’t be home until 6 or 7 at night. Another friend felt guilty for moving his kids halfway across the country so he could accept a good job offer and be closer to family. My own father felt guilty for working 6 and sometimes 7 days a week or working an evening shift at higher pay so that my mother could be a stay at home mom.

I think all parents have it. It’s human nature to want your children to have the very best and sometimes that leads to a balancing act.

Adrienne Signorelli Robertiell

Thenn add in having additional children. The guilt of balancing it all.

Excellent point….

Jimmy Rock

Kim has a valid point but I know what the typical response to this is: “Yeah, but everything is heightened or made more challenging if you’re a special needs parent. If you’re not, you just don’t get it.” While that may be true to some extent, the larger point is that you just don’t necessarily know what other people might be enduring. As a parent of one NT kid and one on the spectrum I see it from both sides. And yeah if both my kids were NT some things would be a lot easier. But if they were both NT I’m sure whatever struggles they were enduring would seem worse to me just because that would be my experience. I just don’t like to get into the whole “I have it worse than you do” or “you don’t understand” stuff. As parents we all have our challenges to deal with. Whether they are objectively more significant than someone else’s is irrelevant. All we can do is just try to be sympathetic and a little understanding of others and try to remember that you can never be sure of what someone else’s situation or what they are going through.

Sorry to ramble a little bit here…

Rob Gorski

Kim would have a valid point if I was making a comparison or saying the one was more difficult than the other and I’m not. Not even close.

She’s absolutely right that all parents feel guilt. That should be obvious to everyone.

However, I’m talking about special needs parenting because I’m a special needs parent. Making statements insinuating that I somehow believe otherwise isn’t accurate and has nothing to do with the topic of this post.

I write about what I know and would never presume to know what someone else is dealing with, nor would I make a direct comparison without trying to make a specific point.

Is Kim’s point valid? yes.

Is it really relevant to what I was talking about? No, because she’s making it sound like I said something that I didn’t.

It doesn’t matter what I say, someone will always twist it or take it out of context and while I respect everyone’s opinion, it does get frustrating..

Jimmy Rock

I’m not sure if you are taking my comment the wrong way. I don’t disagree with anything in your response. My point was more about the typical, tired response of “Well, all parents go through that” to a special needs parent’s observations. As a special needs parent I find that response frustrating and not helpful. Whatever your parenting experiences are, when someone tells you that everyone goes through the same thing (whether that’s entirely accurate or not), while it can sometimes be helpful, sometimes all it does is minimize your experiences in a condescending way. Sorry if I didn’t exactly make my point clear- it’s been a long week!

Rob Gorski

Yep… I totally misunderstood that. My bad. It’s been a long week here as well my friend. Sorry. ☺

Jimmy Rock

No worries – looking at it again my original comment wasn’t exactly clear.

Darcy Dallin

Well said.

Adrienne Signorelli Robertiell

Thenn add in having additional children. The guilt of balancing it all.

Excellent point….

Adrienne Signorelli Robertiell

Thenn add in having additional children. The guilt of balancing it all.

Excellent point….

Adrienne Signorelli Robertiell

Thenn add in having additional children. The guilt of balancing it all.

Excellent point….

Jimmy Rock

Kim has a valid point but I know what the typical response to this is: “Yeah, but everything is heightened or made more challenging if you’re a special needs parent. If you’re not, you just don’t get it.” While that may be true to some extent, the larger point is that you just don’t necessarily know what other people might be enduring. As a parent of one NT kid and one on the spectrum I see it from both sides. And yeah if both my kids were NT some things would be a lot easier. But if they were both NT I’m sure whatever struggles they were enduring would seem worse to me just because that would be my experience. I just don’t like to get into the whole “I have it worse than you do” or “you don’t understand” stuff. As parents we all have our challenges to deal with. Whether they are objectively more significant than someone else’s is irrelevant. All we can do is just try to be sympathetic and a little understanding of others and try to remember that you can never be sure of what someone else’s situation or what they are going through.

Sorry to ramble a little bit here…

Rob Gorski

Kim would have a valid point if I was making a comparison or saying the one was more difficult than the other and I’m not. Not even close.

She’s absolutely right that all parents feel guilt. That should be obvious to everyone.

However, I’m talking about special needs parenting because I’m a special needs parent. Making statements insinuating that I somehow believe otherwise isn’t accurate and has nothing to do with the topic of this post.

I write about what I know and would never presume to know what someone else is dealing with, nor would I make a direct comparison without trying to make a specific point.

Is Kim’s point valid? yes.

Is it really relevant to what I was talking about? No, because she’s making it sound like I said something that I didn’t.

It doesn’t matter what I say, someone will always twist it or take it out of context and while I respect everyone’s opinion, it does get frustrating..

Jimmy Rock

I’m not sure if you are taking my comment the wrong way. I don’t disagree with anything in your response. My point was more about the typical, tired response of “Well, all parents go through that” to a special needs parent’s observations. As a special needs parent I find that response frustrating and not helpful. Whatever your parenting experiences are, when someone tells you that everyone goes through the same thing (whether that’s entirely accurate or not), while it can sometimes be helpful, sometimes all it does is minimize your experiences in a condescending way. Sorry if I didn’t exactly make my point clear- it’s been a long week!

Rob Gorski

Yep… I totally misunderstood that. My bad. It’s been a long week here as well my friend. Sorry. ☺

Jimmy Rock

No worries – looking at it again my original comment wasn’t exactly clear.

Kim Gebhardt

I don’t think parental guilt is exclusively for parents of special needs kids, I think most parents have it. My best friend feels guilty because her job as an attorney means she can’t be home until 6 or 7 at night. Another friend felt guilty for moving his kids halfway across the country so he could accept a good job offer and be closer to family. My own father felt guilty for working 6 and sometimes 7 days a week or working an evening shift at higher pay so that my mother could be a stay at home mom.

I think all parents have it. It’s human nature to want your children to have the very best and sometimes that leads to a balancing act.

Darcy Dallin

Well said.

Adrienne Signorelli Robertiell

Thenn add in having additional children. The guilt of balancing it all.

Excellent point….

Jimmy Rock

Kim has a valid point but I know what the typical response to this is: “Yeah, but everything is heightened or made more challenging if you’re a special needs parent. If you’re not, you just don’t get it.” While that may be true to some extent, the larger point is that you just don’t necessarily know what other people might be enduring. As a parent of one NT kid and one on the spectrum I see it from both sides. And yeah if both my kids were NT some things would be a lot easier. But if they were both NT I’m sure whatever struggles they were enduring would seem worse to me just because that would be my experience. I just don’t like to get into the whole “I have it worse than you do” or “you don’t understand” stuff. As parents we all have our challenges to deal with. Whether they are objectively more significant than someone else’s is irrelevant. All we can do is just try to be sympathetic and a little understanding of others and try to remember that you can never be sure of what someone else’s situation or what they are going through.

Sorry to ramble a little bit here…

Rob Gorski

Kim would have a valid point if I was making a comparison or saying the one was more difficult than the other and I’m not. Not even close.

She’s absolutely right that all parents feel guilt. That should be obvious to everyone.

However, I’m talking about special needs parenting because I’m a special needs parent. Making statements insinuating that I somehow believe otherwise isn’t accurate and has nothing to do with the topic of this post.

I write about what I know and would never presume to know what someone else is dealing with, nor would I make a direct comparison without trying to make a specific point.

Is Kim’s point valid? yes.

Is it really relevant to what I was talking about? No, because she’s making it sound like I said something that I didn’t.

It doesn’t matter what I say, someone will always twist it or take it out of context and while I respect everyone’s opinion, it does get frustrating..

Jimmy Rock

I’m not sure if you are taking my comment the wrong way. I don’t disagree with anything in your response. My point was more about the typical, tired response of “Well, all parents go through that” to a special needs parent’s observations. As a special needs parent I find that response frustrating and not helpful. Whatever your parenting experiences are, when someone tells you that everyone goes through the same thing (whether that’s entirely accurate or not), while it can sometimes be helpful, sometimes all it does is minimize your experiences in a condescending way. Sorry if I didn’t exactly make my point clear- it’s been a long week!

Rob Gorski

Yep… I totally misunderstood that. My bad. It’s been a long week here as well my friend. Sorry. ☺

Jimmy Rock

No worries – looking at it again my original comment wasn’t exactly clear.

Kim Gebhardt

I don’t think parental guilt is exclusively for parents of special needs kids, I think most parents have it. My best friend feels guilty because her job as an attorney means she can’t be home until 6 or 7 at night. Another friend felt guilty for moving his kids halfway across the country so he could accept a good job offer and be closer to family. My own father felt guilty for working 6 and sometimes 7 days a week or working an evening shift at higher pay so that my mother could be a stay at home mom.

I think all parents have it. It’s human nature to want your children to have the very best and sometimes that leads to a balancing act.

Darcy Dallin

Well said.

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