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To be experiencing a sense of disbelief about this comment by SIL

(42 Posts)
Cleofartra Sun 21-Nov-10 22:26:54

over dinner tonight.

Was talking about classroom management (she's a practicing secondary school teacher and I used to be - I teach adults now). She commented that children who supposedly had ASD or ADHD were actually usually just 'horrible little shits' who had been badly parented, usually because the parents were out drinking/shagging and not giving their kids any attention.

This comment was made an hour after I mentioned that ds2, who's in year one, has suspected ASD and is due to see an ed.psych in the next few weeks to start working towards a diagnosis. This was only put to us this week, and although we had long suspected that things were not as they ought to be with him, I'm still in a bit of shock over it all.

My response to the comment was disbelief followed by 'well that'll be ds2 then, as he might have ASD and often needs one to one adult support in the classroom to manage his behaviour'. She replied 'oh well, that's different - if he's got 'medical needs'. And wandered out to make herself a cup of tea.

I'm back at home having to pinch myself to believe she really said that. sad

I wish I'd got angrier and challenged her more strongly.

Serendippy Sun 21-Nov-10 22:30:35

Sounds like she is sad and angry about parents who do not put any effort into parenting their children and then look for a label for the child to excuse any learned behaviour. Stupid comment to make, but please don't think that she will be any less supportive of you and your DS, I could never teach secondary school and she may have had a really bad week. She, as a teacher, will know that ASD and ADHD are real conditions but will also see many parents demanding a label for their child.

Hope your DS gets the help he needs.

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 21-Nov-10 22:31:13

Is it possible that she had particular pupils in mind who are just little shits, rather than just tarring all with one brush?

TheBigZing Sun 21-Nov-10 22:32:59

She was being massively insensitive but not deliberately I think.

People often have quite bigoted views when it comes to generalisations and then find they can't be applied to individual cases.

Double standards - very annoying, but I doubt she was actually commenting on your parenting skills.

onceamai Sun 21-Nov-10 22:33:42

I think she just happened to say the wrong thing at a time you were feeling very sensitive. She may feel that some children who are not well parented are being labelled as ADHD or ASD, etc., when there is nothing in particular wrong with them. This in turn means there is less help avaialable for the children who are very well parented but who have medically recognised conditions.

She's probably feeling just as bad as you are right now and could kick herself. Can you have a coffee/glass of wine in the next few days to clear the air so this doesn't fester and sour your relationship.

Asteria Sun 21-Nov-10 22:37:47

oh lucky you - Christmas must be a real hoot with your family. Some people only open their mouths to change feet, how very tactless and mean of her.
I can understand her "little shits" comment to a certain extent. I'm not saying that she was right by any stretch - but SOME children are just really badly parented and then their behaviour is blamed away on a medical problem, when clearly it isn't.
I really hope that your DS2 and the rest of your family get some really positive help through the ed.psych - brilliant that they have caught it early so he gan get as much help as possible. Good luck

Cleofartra Sun 21-Nov-10 22:49:23

It's nice to hear a charitable 'spin' being put on her comments. smile

onceamai Sun 21-Nov-10 22:52:31

Hope it's made you feel less cross.

amistillsexy Sun 21-Nov-10 22:56:10

Given the 18 months of investigation by many and varied professionals that it took to finally reach a diagnosis for my DS1, frankly, I find this attitude unbelievable.

Does she think the multi-disciplinary teams who diagnose ASD in children just hand out the Dx like a flyer in the street?

Does she have no respect for other professionals and their abilities to do their jobs? Does she think they have no integrity when they make a diagnosis?

Your SIL wants to get a grip of herself, because, believe me, there but for the grace of God...

amistillsexy Sun 21-Nov-10 23:01:08

Sorry, Cleo, I don't want to make you feel bad, it's just that I'm struggling with this myself at the moment, and I just find it incredible that people can be so damned insensitive!

I'll try a new, less 'aggravated' post!

You are in for a bumpy ride if you do need to go for a multi-disciplinary, and you need to make sure that everyone's on your side. It might be a good idea to have that glass of wine and a chat with her, to let her know that comments like this, throwaway though they may seem to her, are actually very close to the bone for you!

Good luck! Stay strong! smile

Cleofartra Sun 21-Nov-10 23:07:29

Thanks amistillsexy! smile

thesecondcoming Sun 21-Nov-10 23:19:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrsbigw Sun 21-Nov-10 23:56:08

Has your SIL actually seen these parents drinking & shagging & neglecting their kids?


sims2fan Mon 22-Nov-10 01:53:26

Sorry, but I am a teacher and I agree that some children with an ADHD label are the results of poor parenting. They are also the results of parents who learn that they can get extra benefits if their children have ADHD and want it for their families. My mum taught in a school with 4 families who lived on the same floor of a block of flats. One family got their child diagnosed and within 3 months the other 3 families had their child diagnosed too, because they found out about the money aspect of it. Other parents want a diagnosis because they want someone to say that their child's behaviour is not their fault. I know someone who keeps mentioning the possibility of ADHD for her son aged 4, when there is nothing the matter with him other than he is never disciplined at home, or actually played with. When I have looked after him and played with him etc I have seen he has a great attention span, can behave, etc. But she wants the label so that she can say there was nothing she could have done, it's just the way he is, when actually if she took a more proactive approach to parenting him she wouldn't think he needed that label. Your SIL obviously didn't think about your situation before she spoke, but I'm afraid that in some cases she is right.

AbstractMouse Mon 22-Nov-10 03:30:22

Who gives a shite wether behaviour is down to ASD or evil parents, it still needs the same amount of intervention to deal with surely.

ragged Mon 22-Nov-10 05:23:42

Bad parenting is frustrating to observe, AbstractMouse, I guess that's why the SIL vented about it.
LOL @ Asteria's changing feet comment.

I don't understand lumping ASD and ADHD together at all. Easy enough perhaps to complain that ADHD, DAMP or ODD are made up, but ASD??

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Mon 22-Nov-10 06:47:31

'got their child diagnosed'..yes it is that easy, just ask and they will hand you a diagnosis and big wad of cash.

hmm x 1000000

scaryteacher Mon 22-Nov-10 08:11:42

Some parents do claim that their children have ADHD, but when challenged have decided this for themselves, rather than going for a dx.

In some cases (but obviously not all), giving the poor (not as in monetary poverty, but in the sense of parental unconcern) children a decent diet and not red bull for breakfast would make a huge difference to their behaviour.

I have spent lessons trying to get children who have 3 cans of red bull/wicked/monster for breakfast off my classroom ceiling as they are so hyper. Parents get called, 'he's ADHD', he's hyper because of the lack of nutrition.

HecateQueenOfWitches Mon 22-Nov-10 08:55:23

you should hear my dad (maths teacher) on adhd, and 'oppositial defiance disorder'. <rolls eyes>

He says there are children who do have such difficulties - he classes it as part of the autistic spectrum - but he says there are also children who are just plain naughty. He says it's funny how many children with adhd didn't have it in his class. (very strict man!)

I think it is quite a common thing with teachers. To see, to be able to tell, the difference between a child with a real problem, and a child with a problem caused by poor parenting, or just the child being a naughty bugger!

I think it makes life really hard for people who do have disorders like this, because the number of parents who excuse bad behaviour instead of dealing with it has led to a general attitude that adhd etc is made up, an excuse. When you can clearly see that a child with real adhd etc has so much in common with children with asd that it is inconceivable to me that adhd is not part of the autistic spectrum.

HecateQueenOfWitches Mon 22-Nov-10 08:55:40


badfairy Mon 22-Nov-10 09:41:23

Agree with Hecate. I have family members who have worked in Special Ed. for over 40 years and who express concern with how the increasing "overuse" of medical terms to describe kids that have just been badly parented has caused a real prejudice towards children with genuine medical problems.

That's not to say the individuals with behavioural problems don't need help but that it is not helpful either to them or children with a proper diagnosis to use a "one size fits all" label to clump them all together. It causes havoc in the classroom and ends up with teachers, like your sister, feeling very resentful of a system that just seems to make excuses for "naughty" children all the time.

In response to your question YANBU to feel hurt by her comments, considering your circumstances, but whilst it was an extremely insensitive thing for her to say, I don't think she was aiming it at you.

Cleofartra Mon 22-Nov-10 09:46:05

I think it's pretty complicated. The way you parent your child is partly about who you are and partly about the child you've got. It's easy to look at other parents and say 'I'd do things differently'. But often they're doing the best they can WITH THE PERSONAL AND SOCIAL RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO THEM.

What I really wanted to say to SIL was to point out that she herself had good parenting, is very bright and has the benefit of an excellent education. She has a strong marriage with a man who shares parenting responsibilities with her equally, a high household income, good health and good housing. And yet both her and DB find life very tough sometimes with three children (none of whom have any LD or behaviour problems so far - they're all under 6 but hopefully that won't change).

It's true that parents could often do things much better, but I look at the same children she calls 'fucking little tossers' (a phrase she's used in the past to describe her students) and think about whether I'd do much better with them if I had to cope with the circumstances that many of their parents are coping with at home. Yes - I know I don't teach these kids any more so it's easier to be sympathetic - I remember coming home from work when I was in secondary with a sore jaw from grinding my teeth all day - but a bit of generosity of spirit and humility doesn't go amiss. You don't have to make excuses or allowances for bad behaviour, but doing your best to understand all the complex strands that feed into shaping the individual child's behaviour and attitude - well, it's not a bad thing for a teacher to do.

Cleofartra Mon 22-Nov-10 09:52:58

"overuse" of medical terms to describe kids that have just been badly parented"

Come on - do we have to talk about 'bad parenting'? I'm a qualified teacher and have a lovely DH who is brilliant with our kids. We both do our best with our youngest, but he's really hard work. At the moment his behaviour in school is good - he has attention issues but is very polite and law abiding, gentle with other children and affectionate to his teachers. I can really see though how in other circumstances - perhaps if he lived in a single parent family with a mum or dad who wasn't getting much support at home, or there were other children at home who were acting up, or living with parents with physical or mental health issues - he might become a child who could be really difficult to manage at school. He takes up all our mental energy.

Some parents are 'brilliant' - I know a few like this. But most of us just struggle along doing our best. And it's easier for some of us to make a good job of it than others. I don't think that 'not fantastic' parenting should be labelled as 'poor parenting'. Some children are very difficult to parent well and not all of us have the energy and the emotional or intellectual resources to be 'brilliant' day in and day out. sad

colditz Mon 22-Nov-10 09:55:20

I'm used to it now. Except I'm a single parent on a council estate, so nobody on this planet thinks Ds1's diagnosis can be anything but my fault.

Cleofartra Mon 22-Nov-10 09:59:24

Colditz - sad

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