“Your kids are not normal.”
Why does anyone think that is okay to say that? And why do they think their version of “normal” is what I want my kids to strive for.
Yes it is true my kids are what you would consider neuro-atypical. Yes they do not attend school (I am talking pre and post lockdown). And yes they are amazing individuals, who are kind, caring, non-judgemental (they really don’t care what you look like, sound like or if you cannot do something) and they are actually really bright kids.
And no, I do not try and make them fit into a neurotypical box that has been predetermined by someone else. And no I do not accept the assumption that any neurotypical kid is more important than any neuro-atypical child.
Also my kids are not going to be “cured”, they are not going to “outgrow it” or suddenly become neurotypical. And honestly I don’t want them to. They are amazing kids just the way they are. They are kind and caring. And wow the conversations they have, it blows my mind, they are fascinating kids with a wide range of knowledge that honestly I would never trade for a “normal” kid.
Last year a few incidents happened that really hurt me. Really hurt, which is why it has taken me so long to get my head around it and to actually write about it. I had assumed that certain people in our life wanted to actually have a proper relationship with my two kids (I mean a proper relationship where there is give and take and not a one-sided relationship where there is just taking). But slowly it dawned on me that there was actually an assumption that my kids and I should just be happy with them squeezing us in when there was nothing better for them to do or when I could be of service to them. Because after all my kids should just be glad that they wanted to spend whatever morsel of their precious time with us. Their time, their life was always more important because it was “normal”. And I should be glad that my kids got to spend some time with “normal” kids.
I believe in modelling behaviour to my kids. I modelled reading books since they were very small and now I have 2 bookworms. I am trying to model a positive body image and making healthy choices so they incorporate that in their lives and I am making a point of modelling positive relationships. I want my kids to see what positive relationships looks like and I mean that in terms of all relationships (not just between me and my husband but with friends and other people in my life). I want the kids to see that when someone treats us like we are inferior that we can do something about that, we don’t need to surround ourselves by people who are condescending or negative. I want them to see that a healthy relationship is give and take, that it is not just one-sided. I don’t want them to feel like someone it taking pity on them and is only spending time with them as a favour. I want them to feel worthy in their relationships, I want them to be on an equal footing in their relationships.
So yes if you have the urge to tell me that my kids are not normal, that my kids do not matter as much, that their time is not as important then sorry go and tell that to someone else. You’re the one who is going to miss out on getting to know some fascinating kids, kids who actually make really good friends. We are quite happy doing our own version of normal over here.