Day 13: Practicing Compassion, Overcoming Parental Judgment

Welcome to day 13 of the 31 Days of Restoration: Spiritual and Emotional Support for Parents of Children with Special Needs. You can find the main page for this series here.

Parenting is hard enough without being the target of criticism. On this journey to parenting a child with special needs, I have discovered there are several mindsets when it comes to parental judgment.

Some people have no idea what we go through and are afraid to say the wrong thing — so they say nothing at all.

There are those who don’t experience what we go through but feel parenting is parenting — and they have plenty to say.

There are those who know what we tackle but don’t want to rock the boat.

Then, there are those who are living what we’re living and know exactly what to say and when to say it.

It is human nature to form an opinion about parenting, and the spectrum of comments is vast.

I have heard it all from family members to friends to complete strangers who went so far as to hint that I didn’t choose abortion — as though my son were a burden to me and that he lives a sad life.

I have also reacted to the finger-pointing in different ways. Some days, I let it bounce off me with a laugh. On the more vulnerable days, I recoil from the punch in the gut.

In reality, there is no right or wrong thing to say.

I have accepted that people speak from their experiences. Usually, the comments are uplifting. But, when the comments sting, I see their ignorance as a lack of experience with or knowledge of parenting a child like mine. I speak a quiet blessing on them and let the judgment go.

I cannot control what people say. I can only keep doing what I’m doing in the hopes that others can learn from watching how I love my son in this lifetime.

Affirmations for Practicing Compassion and Overcoming Parental Judgment

  • Even though people’s words sometimes hurt, I know they mean well.
  • I am a pillar and what comes at me does not immobilize me.
  • I breathe in strength and exhale compassion.
  • I forgive.
  • No matter what people say, I am OK.
  • No matter what people say, my child is OK.
  • No matter what people say, it is all OK.

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