Most People Mean Well thumbnail

Most People Mean Well

3 Things by Maureen Wallace, SheKnows.com

3 Things by Maureen Wallace, SheKnows.com

Truth

People mean well, they just don’t always know best.

As mom to a child with special needs (my son, Charlie, has Down syndrome), I’ve gobbled up an incredible education in the past four years, both on his needs and my need to help educate other people.

People will say things that sound incredibly insensitive to a mom of a child with disabilities, but rarely do they mean to cause hurt. It’s up to me as Charlie’s number one advocate to step up, speak up and share what I’ve learned.

Because the truth is, four years ago, I may have made the same mistakes.

lynette_charlie_best_caregiver

Tip

Practice saying what you mean. Sound simple? Wait until you try! So many times, our relationships with family, loved ones and colleagues suffer because we assume they understand what we want, what we need and how we feel. (And let’s face it, sometimes we don’t even know!)

It’s not always easy to suddenly begin being clear and direct. So, start small. If someone says something that makes you feel badly, take a breath and say, “I’d like to share my perspective on that.” It’s a starter sentence that is polite, direct and leads to a new truth between you both. Plus, it forces you to continue. You’ve taken the toughest step: you’ve spoken up!

Find

O-M-G, people, you have to try Care.com!

We found the most amazing nanny (but don’t call her that—I think she thinks it’s too Mary Poppins-ish) for Charlie when he was only four months old. She and her family are now our family, we love them that much, and they love Charlie (and now his little sister) that much, too.

Care.com provides background checks and even categorizes participants so you can find someone who meets your specific needs (like us, with Charlie’s Down syndrome… we wanted someone who had some experience working with a child with delays, and we found her).

From weekend babysitters to the next member of your extended family, I promise you’ll have luck if you don’t wait for someone to come to you.

You know best what you want—go find him or her!

***

Contributor: Maureen from SheKnows.com
Enjoy her writing on She KnowsAll Parenting and her personal blog.
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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jessica August 14, 2013 at 10:09 am

    I agree that it’s very important that we speak up. It is hard when the other person is well-intentioned but often that’s our best opportunity.

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  • Maureen Wallace August 14, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Jessica, I completely agree. It’s hard when we’re not expecting it, but giving it some thought ahead of time helps!

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  • Mary August 14, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Jessica/Maureen — You are right on the money. I would never want to offend with my words, but unless I know that my words are offensive, I may do just that! So please speak up! Case in point: I never realized until I read one of Maureen’s commets that “child with special needs” is better than “special needs child.” So please don’t take offense to our ignorance but rather jump at the chance to help us do better! We really do mean well.

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  • Missy August 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    I love this!
    “I’d like to share my perspective on that.”
    What a great way to share my thoughts in a non-threatening way. I will practice this from now on. Thank you for this tip.

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