I had an interaction with someone in which they were describing behaviors of a child, and really she could have been describing my difficult child when she's in a bad phase (only, difficult child has had some worse behaviors too). Anyway, I was glad that this person could grasp that maybe it wasn't all due to bad parenting but that the child might actually be "troubled." But what she said next really bothered me, deeply. She said she feels awful for the parents who have to live with this child and for the school the child goes to. Now, I am glad for empathy people have for us. But all I could imagine was my difficult child hearing someone say how awful they felt for me because I have to live with her. How would she feel? And, I cringe at the thought of someone feeling awful for me. But at the same time I wonder, is this irrational? It just seemed so...not understanding of my difficult child and what she goes through, and not understanding how the parents might feel-it's so complex to love a child with these kinds of issues, and to me as bad as it can get (and as discouraged, stressed, exhausted as I can get) I wouldn't say it's awful to be the parent of a difficult child, it isn't always even though it can be very difficult and the emotions are complex. If someone I knew had a child exactly like mine I think I wouldn't feel awful for them, although I would empathize, know that it can be really hard, and want to help or wish I could help. This lady's comment seemed so focused on the kid's being bad, despite her apparent understanding that the kid might have real problems (if that makes any sense). Or maybe her comment bugs me because it seems to imply that the kid can't be helped, and that the child's behavior will always be a pain in the butt to everyone else. And what if his behavior doesn't change in a significant way, is he worth less than "normal" kids? He's too inconvenient? Might influence good children like hers? Are these reasons to feel awful for his parents and teachers? I know I'm taking it very personally because what she described reminded me so much of my difficult child. I'm sure I'll develop a thicker skin, eventually (and have already learned to let a lot roll right off). Have you ever bristled at comments like this? Is this something that happens to others parents of difficult children? Or am I a lone wingnut?