A letter from the mother of the child, on the floor in the grocery store, screaming swear words at the top of his lungs…

I knew when my son was 10 months old, something was different about him. He would throw fits that would put a 3-year-old to shame.  I had a 3-year-old daughter, and I kept telling the doctor, something is wrong with my son. All I was given in response from the doctor and countless mothers who meant well was, “He is just a boy”. I tried to believe them. I wanted to believe them.

When he was 2, I cried to the doctor, telling him I didn’t know how to handle him, he was so out of control and nothing I did was helping. His advice “your hand is the perfect shape for spanking his bottom for a reason”. Later when I asked for my son’s medical records, the doctor’s notes said that I was distraught and really overwhelmed as a mother. The notes didn’t say anything about my concerns that my son had some kind of disability. They also didn’t have any record of him telling me I should spank my son. This was just one of the many messages over the last 8 years that I have received telling me, it is just my flawed parenting. Just be more consistent, more strict, more patient, more kind, more calm, offer rewards, take away priveledges, lock him in his room, spank him. Not to mention the dirty looks or outright insults that have been flung at me almost every time I have left my house. Why can’t I just discipline him? Even my own family has said things like “he only acts like that because you do not discipline him”.

Enough is enough. I HAVE disciplined him. My poor son has spent his whole life being disciplined. One system to the next, trying to find something that works. Guess what, he is still hitting me, breaking things, swearing.  STOP judging me. I tell everyone that I struggle with my temper, that I struggle with patience. But, do I? Actually, is it possible that I show more patience on any given day, then the average mom shows in a month? I love my son dearly, I am his mom, and I show him love and tenderness, seconds after his behavior has ripped our world apart for the 20th time that day.

So, if it isn’t my fault, who’s fault is it? It isn’t anyone’s fault and certainly not my son’s fault. My son was born with the inability to figure out how to handle difficult situations. It doesn’t matter how much I discipline him. He WANTS to be GOOD. He WANTS people to LOVE him. He WANTS people to be his FRIEND. He just doesn’t know how. I have to hold my son and listen to him cry because he wants friends. It is heartbreaking. Don’t you think that if he could, he would? Kids without these developmental problems, naturally learn how to function in the world through trial and error. Kids like my son need much more than trial and error, much more than discipline. They need it spelled out for them. They need to feel loved and understood. They need to be a part of the solution so that they can see how that solution came to be.

Enough is enough, stop blaming me and all the other mothers out there in my shoes. Stop looking down your nose at us. More importantly, stop blaming my son, stop blaming and hating the beautiful children like my son, who just want to feel and be loved.

Do me a favor. The next time you see a mother at church, at the grocery store, at the park, with a child that has completely gone off the deep end, offer her your support. Show her kindness and love. And please, don’t forget to show that sweet innocent child kindness and love too.

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