"But She's Special Needs..."

Today I had to take my step-daughter to the ear doctor. From the moment we were about to depart she decided she was going to misbehave and give me nothing but attitude. She continued this behavior even after we arrived. As soon as I corrected her, I was given evil glares by people. Many people, these days, think that a special needs child should get away with murder. I am not one of those parents, so excuse me if I feel the need to correct my mouthy child. Special needs or not, she hasn’t any right behaving in an inappropriate manner to anyone, anywhere nor does she have the right to disrespect me or choose NOT to listen.

She thinks she is funny when she behaves this way and sasses us. She isn’t. Could this behavior be influenced by peers at school? Possibly. Is it due to the fact she has been shuffled from place to place and to different families a majority of her life? That could be it as well. But, one factor does remain: She has been babied a majority of her life and her unruly behavior, ignored. And so begins the journey of correcting it. Is it an easy road? No. But, nonetheless, it is a road we must endure and travel so she can blossom and mature into the young lady she is capable of being. And, yes, I secretly hope she comes to understand and thank us someday.

But, in the meantime, we will ignore the snorts from others, the glares, the “I can’t believe she is discipling that special needs child. The poor kid” thoughts from others. Why? Because we do not agree in treating her differently than any other child. Because although she may struggle academically, her thoughts, actions, and desires are that of any other child her age because we see it. We experience it. We live with it.

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Melissa MiddletonPennington Gap, Virginia
01/29/15
Melissa Middleton
Thank you, Kyla. Yes, when Jaina began living with us (her Daddy finally got custody), I had to teach her many things because she was catered to and had things done for her her entire life. It took me only two weeks for her to be able to wipe herself, wash herself, dress herself, and wash her own hair. She was babied so it crippled her a lot, and I do not agree with that. She has Down Snydrome and babying them only hinders them. She even picks out what she wants to wear, puts all her own laundry away, does her own hair, and can serve herself food. She was unable to do all of this before. I am in no way trying to brag, I am just pointing out that if she wasn't babied before and neglected, she could have been further along. It just takes time and patience.
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    01/29/15
    Comment deleted
    01/29/15
    Melissa Middleton
    Thank you, Laura. It just aggravates me when people act like you're a cruel mother for getting after your child...and most aren't even parents.
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      01/29/15
      You go mommie!! Mother knows best is a saying I have never understood more by being one. You're doing great and completely agree that babying people regardless of age will hinder them. Kudos to you for getting your princess on the right track!!
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      01/29/15
      Melissa Middleton
      Thank you, Alissa! I try to do my best by them.
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        01/29/15
        I think it's great. My ex's sister is special needs and they gave her whatever she wanted. I was mean because I told her she couldn't treat me like dirt. She's in her 30s with the mind of a 10 year old.
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        01/29/15
        Melissa Middleton
        I applaud you for doing that. You are not mean for telling her she could not treat you like that, she needs to know it is not okay. My kid sister is in her 30s and has the mind of like a 14 year old. She can be cruel as well and is learning the hard way that she cannot behave that way.
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        01/29/15
        The title of your blurb (mommy story) reminds me of most people. Instead of and including "but she's special needs" it's "but they're just a kid" "but it's just a phase" "but they don't know" "but they don't understand" People in general learn through experience, I see alot of parents who will make these excuses for their childrens behavior then wondering why it gets worse as they get older. I have two younger siblings 10 and 6, the youngest is constantly babied and even though he is 6 reverts back to toddler tantrums because his experience tells him it works. My dad and stepmom say he will grow out of it but its progressing. Wish more people thought like you women did.
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        01/29/15
        Melissa Middleton
        Yes, that is what happened to my little sister. She was the baby and was babied and now she thinks she can act anyway she wants without consequences and talk to anyone rudely. I won't be making this mistake.
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        01/29/15
        I've had so many parents with special needs kids tell me the kids function better if they have a schedule. I think schedule and discipline are key.. but of course each parent has to figure out what is best for their kid(s) and I don't have parenting knowledge in this area.
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        02/15/15
        Melissa Middleton
        She has Down Syndrome but high functioning.
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        About Melissa Middleton
        Current: Pennington Gap, Virginia
        Birth: April 13
        On Moms.com since: Mar 21, 2014
        Mother of an active son, a precious baby girl, & a diva step-daughter (who lives with us). I am an artist, baker, organic gardener, frugal liver, & a Christian--happily married to my best-friend. Blogger at www.chasingwildhorses.com