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Monica Pickard spent twenty years of her adult life as a child care provider. During that time, with the help of her husband, she raised her son who has been diagnosed with Autism and Developmental Delay. She learned to navigate a world that was new to her – the world of Special Needs. She now shares these experiences and the wisdom they taught her, with love and heartfelt compassion for the human condition.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Interesting Podcasts and Update on WorkerBee

Hello, Friends! 

If you are like me you love to learn new things, hear different perspectives, and stay informed. Hopefully, you have checked out some of the Books I Love. I read every night before I go to sleep. I just started reading The Brain that Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge, MD. It is fantastic! It is going on the list for sure! Anyhoo...
Here are some interesting podcasts I love to listen to while I clean, organize, exercise, and drive. I hope you find them as entertaining and inspirational as I have! 

RobCast - God, ego, politics, fear, marriage... you name it, Rob has a podcast about it! 

Revisionist History - Malcolm Gladwell covers a wide range of historical topics that will leave you seeing our past and our present in a whole new way. 

Hidden Brain - This one will show you some of "life's unseen patterns" 

Sincerely, X - If you enjoy TED Talks, you will love this podcast! Some stories are too sensitive, painful or potentially damaging to share publicly -- unless they can be shared anonymously. This link will take you to a site where you can choose how to get the podcast.

Several months ago, I told you about Joshua's new volunteer activity, WorkerBee. I am happy to report that since March 2017, he has collected and delivered 1779 pounds of donations to area food pantries and thrift stores and ridden 984 miles to make the collections and deliveries. This has kept him away from his TV and given him a much-needed activity away from home. We are deeply grateful to our community for all of their support for our mission! To follow Joshua's volunteer activities, like him on facebook @ WorkerBee Joshua Pickard.

Take care, Friends! Have a beautiful Fall! 

Check out my recommended reading post at the top of the menu. I hope this blog helps you to create a more peaceful life. Keep in touch by the following methods: Use the links under the archive menu to subscribe or follow by e-mail. Help me get this message out by sharing it with your friends on social media! If you enjoyed it and were helped by it, they will, too! Write to me with your comments and questions at mindchange4all@gmail.com  I look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Unwanted Parenting Advice

You suck at parenting.

That is what parents of people with disabilities hear – in our own heads – when we get unwanted parenting advice from certain people. I’ll go into who those people are later, but for now, here are some other things we hear while getting unwanted parenting advice:

You are a failure.
Your child could be so much better if they had someone else as a parent.
You are too lazy to be a good parent.
You don’t do enough to help your child succeed.
You don’t spend enough time working with your child.
You don’t teach your child things they need to know.
You don’t work hard enough.
You don’t even try.

We hear these and many other things while listening to unwanted parenting advice. And we have some responses whirling around in our heads as we listen to the advice:

Oh, sure! I wish I had thought of that! Duh!!
You don’t have a &%$ clue what you’re talking about!
You think you could do a better job with my child? If you had to do this for JUST ONE DAY it would break you!
Shut the @*%^ up, you moron!
Keep it together now. She / He means well. She / He does not realize how this sounds.

We know the advice is not meant to be heard the way we hear it, but we still hear it that way. We know you don’t mean to be rude or condescending, but it is rude and condescending to tell someone how to parent their child who has a disability – in certain cases. Here is a list of who should NOT be giving advice:

If you have never raised a child with this disability; if you live in a home with a person with a disability, but you give all the caregiving responsibility to someone else; if you have never worked with people who have disabilities; if you do not have a disability; if you are a doctor, but you do not work with people with disabilities or specialize in the disability you are giving advice about, then you should keep your mouth shut. Period. There is no argument you can make to justify giving us advice. If you fall into any of those categories – whether you are a relative, or not, you should not be giving advice to parents or caregivers. If ever you are tempted to say to the parent of a person with disabilities, “If this were my child I would…” Stop right there and keep it to yourself. Because you really do not have a clue.

Why don’t you have a clue? I’m so happy you asked! You don’t have a clue because you don’t really know the person with a disability you are talking about. You don’t really know how they are, or who they are. You only know how they act around you, but not at home, not when they are alone with their caregiver, not when they are away from you. You only see certain things, but there are other things that are relevant that you don’t see. You don’t see what parents and caregivers actually do each day in service of this person they love. These are things we will not discuss with you because we are allowing for a certain amount of dignity in the life of the person with the disability. You don’t see us cleaning up after them, working with them on self-care or other things, teaching them things. You don’t realize that this person you think we are not helping enough is not someone who needs to be fixed. Maybe you don’t realize that not every minute of the day must be spent improving them. People with disabilities need fun and down time. Parents need fun and down time.

 Now, we welcome advice from certain other people; people who we know understand our situation. These people include parents of people with disabilities; anyone who works with people with disabilities, especially if they work with people who have the type of disability our child has; teachers of people with disabilities; therapists of people with disabilities; relatives with hands on experience caregiving for people with disabilities; and of course, people with disabilities.

The way to truly tell if you should be giving us advice is if we ask you for it.

I don’t mean to be harsh, but it is very frustrating for a seasoned parent to be given advice from someone who has absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Yes, you may be a parent, too, but raising typical children is extremely different from our situation. You cannot know these differences unless you live them. Thank you for caring, but please, for the love of God, just don’t go there. On the other hand, if you have given someone unwanted parenting advice in the past and are just now realizing how you sounded, forgive yourself. You could not have known better until now.

When you fall victim to unwanted parenting advice – and you will at some point – there are several ways to handle it…

Just smile and nod as if in agreement then change the subject.
Say, I appreciate that you care so much. I do all that I can do with the time we have, even though you are not there to witness it.  
Or say, I’m sorry, but you really have no idea how to parent someone with this disability so I would appreciate you keeping your advice to yourself.
Or, When you become the parent of a child with ______ you can give that a try! Let me know how it turns out for you.

Try to remember that they can’t know what they don’t know, and what they don’t know is how it feels to get unwanted parenting advice from someone who has no clue. 
And above all else, remember how awesome you are! Do not let them bring you down!

If you have other peaceful suggestions for dealing with this topic, I would love to hear them! Shoot me an e-mail at Mindchange4all@gmail.com 

Check out my recommended reading in Books I Love. I hope this blog helps you to create a more peaceful life. Keep in touch by the following methods: Use the links under the archive menu to subscribe or follow by e-mail. Help me get this message out by sharing it with your friends on social media! If you enjoyed it and were helped by it, they will, too! Write to me with your comments and questions at mindchange4all@gmail.com  I look forward to hearing from you.