Am I overreacting?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mstddybr, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. mstddybr

    mstddybr New Member

    Why is it that when I vent to others about my 10 year old child whom I believe has ODD it seems o.k. but when THEY tell me things about my child it bothers the heck out of me? It seems a normal parent reaction but I can't help but wonder if I'm taking it too personal or if I should speak up. Today for example, I was commenting to a friend that at Legoland my 3 year old has a hard time waiting in line to get on the rides so she suggested that I should go to Guest Services and tell them that my 10 year old has mental problems so that they can give us a pass to go to the front of the line. At first I thought she misunderstood and I clarified that my 10 year old can wait in line but my 3 year old still has to learn this. She said, yes, I know but this way neither of them have to wait. I know she means well but even just writing this makes me upset. It is probably my fault for sharing too much about my child's difficulties but I do feel the need to confront her. Please share your thoughts about this as I know only you can understand and tell me if I have a right to feel offended.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I would also feel offended. She was asking you to lie - to make people think that your 10 year old's disability was causing problems when it really wasn't. It would also send the message to your son that he can go through life using his disability as a crutch not only for himself but for everyone around him. The 3 yr old will catch on real quick also and go through life saying, "OH, my sibling has a disability that is going to get me what I want - no standing in lines if I take him with."

    Doing what your friend suggested would be abusing the services set up to help people with disabilities.

    She may have meant well, but it was very inappropriate and unfair to those waiting in line if you got to budge in line under false pretenses.

    However, If you went to customer services and explained that your three year old was having difficulties and they agreed to let you go ahead of others I would not mind. However, most three year olds do have trouble standing in long lines (especially if they are tired or hungry) and I don't know that the business would go along with letting all little kids automatically go in front of others who have been waiting awhile.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  3. mstddybr

    mstddybr New Member

    Thank you very much for your reply Andy and believe me, I would never lie or use my son's problems to take advantage in any circumstance. I understand that part really well. However, the part that bothered me more was when she said that I should say that my son has "mental problems." This may indeed be the case but it really offended me that SHE said it. I try my best not to judge or "label" other people's children even when they share things about them with me so it is difficult for me to understand when other people even volunteer to strangers that my son is difficult. I just wanted to clarify the gist of what I was referring to. The amusement park incident was only the latest example.
  4. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    It does hurt to hear the words "Mental Problems". That phrase sounds so disrespectful and sterotyping. If it is the same friend being so open about placing your child in that box, then I would talk to her especially if what she said is ever in earshot of your 10 year old. Maybe something like, "Please do not refer to my child as having mental problems. It is very hurtful and gives others a negative view of my child. It is very important that people treat difficult child like they would every other 10 year old."

    You may want to let up in venting to her about your difficult child's struggles but make sure you share the good things about difficult child to her. You are correct that no matter what you know about a child, you NEVER judge that child or place a lable. A true friend will understand the venting and help uphold the wonderful qualities your child has. She would focus on the good things to bring to light to you. Her response to the Legoland situation would have been, "Your difficult child did a great job in waiting and watching you work with the 3 year old!"

    This forum is great because we do know that every child is special and wonderful somewhere under those horrid moments they display from time to time. Even those kids who seem to keep you on edge 24/7, we know have cool personalities just fighting to get out. We truly understand the bad days without the judging.
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree that is a very rude statement. I know I would have been offended. Hugs.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I don't know your 10 yo's diagnosis. But a lot of these sort of problems are categorised differently, by different services.

    For example, our education system here in Australia - in secondary school, autism is categorised as a psychiatric disability. Also behaviour team gets called in. But at college, in tertiary - it is classified as a neurological disability. Very different. And it does affect people's attitudes to you.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 is having serious anxiety issues at the moment and had to see the college counsellor (the neurological disabilities person) who recommended she see a therapist. To organise a therapist we had to see the GP who had to organise a Mental Care Plan. So it still gets muddled in together sometimes. But ten - although her problems are neurological (ie borderline Asperger's plus ADD) the current issues are psychological as a consequence.

  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    If I may....I think the trouble stems from the fact that your friend means well, and she is trying to understand....but at the end of the day - she really doesn't get what it means to walk a mile in your shoes. I believe that no offfense was intended.

    It sounds to me as though "mental problems" is your friend's way of trying to grasp or explain the situation. She made a suggestion to you the same way she might have said 'Well, let the three-year old ride with your Grandmother who has handicapped tags on her car. Then he won't have to walk so far when he gets there."

  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    DF...that is probably exactly what the friend meant.

    I attend a group for people who have either depression, bipolar, or some form of anxiety. There is a woman in this group who cannot stand for us to use the term "mental illness". She just wants to say she has depression. Im like huh? I suggested "neurobiological chemical disorder" and she shot that down too. LOL. I say just call a rose a rose. It just confuses me why we cant say we have a mental illness when thats what we have?
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Janet, it comes down to people's perceptions of labels. "Depression: is increasingly acceptable these days because after all, 25% of the population have it at some stage. But there is still far more stigma attached to the "mental illness" tag. So many more implications. I know I personally would prefer a depression tag to a mental illness one.

    I don't like it when people impose their views on how I label myself, so I won't criticise people who have a problem with this label and prefer that one. For example, I have labelled myself as disabled, for years now. Yet when a young man in our village had a nasty accident and was being mentored by a lifestyle guru (who turned out to be nasty charlatan) I was attacked for using such a negative label. The young man was being encouraged to think of himself as "differently abled". But for me, accepting the label "disabled" actually made it more possible for me to achieve more. If you fight too hard against what cannot be changed, you prevent yourself from changing what can be. I had to step back and relax a bit before I could surge ahead and accomplish things.

    I'm thinking, mstddybr, that this is what upset you - the term "mental illness" has so many other implications in our minds, and when our kids get labelled especially by others, it brings out the mother tiger in us.

    I'm all for calling a spade a spade. Yes, I have used the "I'm disabled, get me to the front of the queue" much to my kids' delight at amusement parks (plus we get to stay on the ride twice if I want) but if you use the specific label, it avoids confusion and misunderstanding.

    It is sad when friends we are otherwise close to, don't get it. I have a good friend who is very critical of the help I give my adult kids. "At their age," she says, "They need to do it themselves." I noticed last time we were discussing easy child 2/difficult child 2, that my friend was accusing my daughter of her own daughter's failings. A sort of "this is my experience therefore it must be yours". My friend's daughter is a worry; I've quietly done my own unofficial personality analysis on her and it comes very close to narcissistic personality disorder. I ran the same test on easy child 2/difficult child 2 and got very different results. My friend's daughter has very different issues; plus she refuses to get any sort of therapist help, whereas my daughter has seen tdocs in the past and is now asking for help to see one again. My friend & I each have issues with a daughter, but there the resemblance ends.

    Never underestimate the personal connection to ideas, thoughts and labels.

    I have to accept that my friend has a blind spot (or twenty!) when it comes to her daughter. Also even our best friends will put their own children above ours. As do we.

    It's normal.

  10. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I deal with this with the bipolar label. Bipolar tends to make people think of celebrities acting badly, or disgruntled employees showing up at workplaces with machine guns.

    It's become the excuse du'jour for acting irrationally or making poor life choices. I am bipolar and I even see it in the non psychiatric medical field. All one has to do is look at my medications and it is pretty obvious to them. I'm open in a medical setting as it needs to be considered, especially as I have problems with panicking which ccan get ugly pretty quickly in a medical setting.

    But, outside of close friends and family members, I don't discuss my mental illness much.
  11. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    It is very normal for a 3 year old to not want to wait.

    It is also the norm for people to look for freebies, easy outs and what not. I don't know how many times I have seen very abled people park in handicapped spaces, use the motorized carts at the grocer when they are fine, ask for senior discounts when they aren't, sue for a minor fender bender claiming false injuries and generally try to "get one by". (yes I know not all handicaps are visible but the system is abused)

    I would consider this a serious character flaw on this womans part. Though it may have seemed innocent enough and not malicious I tend to cringe at the sort of person that sees no harm in getting by with a half truth in order to gain an unfair advantage. That in itself would lead me to not take much she or her kind says to heart.

    As for others talking about your difficult child...people say ignorant stuff all the time. Some are sincerely concerned, some are bumbling busy bodies and others are just mean spirited gossips. Only you can decide the tone based on the speaker and your history. Don't be ashamed to politely tell them that although you need to vent about difficult child sometimes that when others voice opinions about your difficult child you feel sensitive about it. That is a very fair boundary to set and shouldn't come across rude at all. A considerate person would respect that.