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why is it so much easier to get on with sn kids mums?

(24 Posts)
Keane Thu 31-Mar-05 16:06:21

not being nasty about NT kids mothers as I have alot of very good friends who have no sn children. But its just the not having to "try" bit and being able to strike up friendships alot quicker with mums of sn children. I made a friend last week who's son has similar problems to my daughter and we just wet ourselves laughing at really silly things. I didnt have to even try, it was so easy just to get on with her. it was as though we had known each other for years.

Does this just happen to me? or is it everyone else?

have to say i have met some ghastly mums of SN kids too

Twiglett Thu 31-Mar-05 16:28:47

because there's an unwritten shorthand that you can naturally share

and because having a member of the family who is either ill or has SN gives you a weird sense of humour

pixel Thu 31-Mar-05 20:29:25

I have to admit I don't know anyone with sn children (unless I count JakB but I've only met her once!). My 'normal' friends have always been great, they love ds and are more willing to babysit than my family are (ie they actually OFFER, they don't have to be practically begged).The other day I was explaining to one of my friends that ds was finally taking an interest in 'Something special' and how I hoped he would pick up a bit of Makaton. She said "let me know if he starts to use it because then I'll want to learn it too". I was very touched by that.

I haven't really had much opportunity to meet parents of sn children. Ds is taken to school by bus so I don't know his classmates' parents. I have spoken to a couple of them at school events or when I have helped with the RDA but it's never gone further than that.

sparklymieow Thu 31-Mar-05 20:34:04

Most of my friends are mums of SN kids too, I have two friends with no kids at all, and its lots of fun to be with them but they don't understand what I am chatting about sometimes. One of my SN friends is someone that was Misdee's friend at school, one day I went to a SN support group and she was there, what a shock!! I didn't even realise she had a SN child..... but we get on great and moan about SN things all the time

Merlot Thu 31-Mar-05 20:59:52

I have a lot of longstanding friends with NT children who are very understanding and dear to me, but there are certain things which they just cannot really appreciate because they are not `wearing the shoes' so to speak. Equally, I have just started meeting some lovely mums who have children with Special Needs and naturally I have `clicked' with some more than others.

What I find more difficult is making new friends with people that only have NT children. I guess its because they haven't been with me on this `new journey' and I'm scared that they will, misguidedly, only view me as a mum who has a child with Special Needs (and ought to be pitied) rather than see me as the individual I am(iykwim)

unicorn Thu 31-Mar-05 21:02:40

Don't you think it can work both ways though?

Parents with non SN diagnosed kids, have problems too!

I would say it is a question of humanity rather that 'categorisation'.

heartinthecountry Thu 31-Mar-05 21:55:55

I think the common ground thing is important. I have made friends with some parents of SN children quite quickly and I think it it largely because we all recognise that to a certain extent we 'need' each other. We need to be able to talk about all the stuff we can't talk about necessarily with others who don't live it.

I know what you mean Merlot about making new friends with mums of NT kids. Shortly after dd was diagnosed I started taking her to baby yoga. In the absence of any offer of physio etc I figured it might be a way to at least exercise her (and interestingly a lot of the stuff we did was really similar to stuff the physio subsequently did). Anyway, although some of the other mums there were friendly I did become aware that they seemed to be keeping a certain distance. And I did get a sense that they did pity me a little. I found it really hard. I felt like the same person but suddenly in the eyes of the world I had ceased to be a new mother and become 'the poor woman who's daughter is disabled'.

I also think though that to a certain extent, the common ground thing has to do with this too. Before we knew about dd's condition, if I went to mother & baby groups I was looking to meet mums who were going through the same things I was, mums I could talk to about all the stuff to do with looking after a baby.

And I guess the other baby yoga mums were doing that too. Only they didn't feel they would have common ground with me particularly because, well, my daughter wasn't doing all the stuff their kids were doing. Does that make sense?

unicorn Thu 31-Mar-05 22:03:47

Sorry but should I stick to another thread?

Almost feels you don't like to converse with non SN parents.

sparklymieow Thu 31-Mar-05 22:05:08

Unicorn, course you can join in... Just than noone is here atm. I feel like that sometimes and I am a SN mum!!!

unicorn Thu 31-Mar-05 22:09:32

In which case hello!..

There is also the case of the inbetweeners.. like me...

Kids not diagnosed as anything, but they are are 'harder' than most.(in the hyper/high maintenance sphere)

Sometimes being non-diagnosed (NT?) is actually more of a problem - as you fit in in neither world IYSWIM!!!!

pixel Thu 31-Mar-05 22:09:37

Unicorn, I've just said that I don't know any sn parents! I make friends with people because I like them, not because they may have the same problems as me.

Twiglett Thu 31-Mar-05 22:14:25

Unicorn - my kids are NT, I just pitch into any thread I feel interested in

heartinthecountry Thu 31-Mar-05 22:15:41

Sorry, Unicorn, I didn't respond directly to your post as I was thinking about what others had said further down.. and thought my post had got a bit long anyway!

I think to a certain extent you are right. It is down to individuals. One of my very best friends has a completely NT ds who is a day younger than my dd. She has been an amazing support to me. I hope that I have to her too. She had/has PND. I think in a strange way, it is the fact that neither of us was experiencing a completely rosy parenthood that has drawn us together. Our issues are very different but we understand that it isn't all plain sailing.

pixel Thu 31-Mar-05 22:23:02

Actually I did get quite upset taking ds to a mainstream playgroup but that was because of the way I was feeling about the ever-widening gap between him and his peers. The other mums were sympathetic in that they made allowances for ds but they treated me the same as anyone else. There was one other sn mum there but we didn't gravitate towards each other especially or get 'lumped together' by the others.

Jimjams Thu 31-Mar-05 22:23:48

weird thought I'd replied to this earlier. The message has disappeared. Basically said that I found that I hit it off easily with people who had children who were affected to a similar degree to ds1- as they faced the same problems in RL (you may notice that Davros and I agree a lot on here- probably because our children are similar so we have faced the same problems). Very very few NT friends understand just how restricitve our life is. One does- (saw her today in fact) but she is very relaxed, has a slightly unusual situation herself and is my oldest friend.

When I meet most NT parents I find that I have to hold something back, so it's harder to get over that. HArd to explain, but I think most just don't understand how restriced we are at the moment. And I suspect they don't want to (gets rather boring!).

Also when I go to the houses of others in the same situation I can relax as they have locks on the front doors and windows are locked shut etc.

Jayzmummy Thu 31-Mar-05 22:32:09

I just seem to get on with SN mothers better than I do NT mothers....probably because I am more relaxed around SN mums and dont feel I have to explain J's behaviour to them because they already understand.
My oldest friend has drifted away simply because she can not deal with j's behaviour.....it upsets her too much to see him having a meltdown....yet my newest friend who has a son with Aspergers witnessed a major meltdown the very first time she came to my house and totally ignored it and didnt put her off coming back.

Jimjams Thu 31-Mar-05 22:38:41

On the same theme Jayzmum. Most people with autistic kids are used to their houses being potentially trashed (even if they have nice houses). Therefore although I don't let ds1 trash anyone's house, they're not horrified by the stuff he may try to do (in fact he's much less likely to trash anything than most of my friend's kids). So I'm more relaxed. My NT friend I mentioned earlier is very relaxed about that sort of thing as well (probably as she has 4 children, 3 boys including twins so used to chaos). She didn't bat an eyelid when ds1 threw her mobile phone in a stream (I did!)

beccaboo Thu 31-Mar-05 22:51:04

I find my friends with NT kids are scared of putting their foot in it by making any observations about my ds. They are also wary of talking about their problems/concerns about their own children, in case they seem insensitive. Lovely of them, but doesn't always make for an open and honest relationship. And I just hate the feeling that they might pity us.

eidsvold Thu 31-Mar-05 23:35:35

have friends in both camps - I guess my friend who also has a daughter with sn - gets the stuff that would be too hard to explain to parents of nt children - you know like a stairgate across her bedroom door at night. Hospital appt, dealing with therapists etc.

Other friends who have nt children have been friends for years and those that just treat me the same - not as someone to be pitied or accommodated iykwim but just eidsvold - same person she was before kids....

Meeting new parents - not sure how that will go when dd1 starts mainstream pre-school/kindy. Will let you know. As dd1 is still young - our social circle is limited to my friends prior to going to the UK and a couple we knew in the UK who have emigrated and those we have met at playgroup for children with sn.

Merlot Thu 31-Mar-05 23:53:05

Heartinthecountry - You've hit the nail right on the head as far as I'm concerned. Beccaboo I know exactly what you mean about the pity

At the little song group I went to just before Easter (all NT children except my ds2), I realized just how much the social etiquette has changed for me, now being a mum of a little boy with special needs. As you said HITC about your yoga group, there was very little established common ground (except the fact that we were all there to enjoy the singing etc..) The usual icebreakers...how old is your little one and all that jazz..are obviously quite difficult for everyone as far as my ds2 is concerned. He is 18mths, but the size of a large three year old, so combined with his delay...others are loathed to ask that question.

I had a few very welcoming smiles (not the pitying type) and I suddenly realised that I was going to have to do all the `running'. Once I had asked questions about their children and given them `permission' to talk and ask about my son, we all began to relax. There was one woman who couldn't take her eyes of my ds the whole time (a little voice inside my head said `put the rhino skin on' - got that phrase from on here somewhere, thanks ), but by and large it was a positive experience - I just felt that I needed to make SO much more effort than I would have done with my ds1 at such a group.

Interestingly, I'm finding the Social Etiquette equally tricky meeting new people at Special Needs gatherings. At first I didn't like to ask people too much, worrying that I would offend. Then I realised that I preferred it when people were more to the point with me - how old is your little one?, he's gorgeous, what are his problems?, has he got a dx? rather than too much pu$$y footing and peering and trying to guess iykwim? I dont mean being so direct that it comes across as nosey, but just not a bumbling, tongue tied wreck

Long winded way of saying it , but my overall point is that I feel that when your child has special needs the social etiquette does change all round.

I expect it is similar if you suddenly find yourself part of any minority group?

Fio2 Fri 01-Apr-05 08:26:22

Merlot I know exactly what you mean! Its the meeting "new" friends. Found this increasingly difficult because we moved house and I "lost" all my old NT kiddie friends. Havent really been able to get on with any of the mum's at Nt ds's nursery and that makes me really sad

Pixel, do you find yourself a bit detached from the other mums at your ds's school? With them being picked up by the bus, i really dont have much of a clue about any of the parents (except for 2!)_

Jimjams Fri 01-Apr-05 08:47:55

agree Merlot- direct questions are much better.

pixel Fri 01-Apr-05 12:28:39

Fio, I don't know any of the parents at all. I do find it quite strange as I know loads of people (mums and dads) at dd's school and some of them have become my best friends. We usually organise a trip out somewhere in the holidays and go to the park after school. But ds's school-nothing. It will be better in September because JakB's dd is going to be in my ds's class so I will know one mum!

Tbh I don't really think about it much because most of dd's schoolfriends have siblings ds's age so he has always been included in that group. The minibus drops him off at dd's school so that they can both join in with any after-school social life. If I didn't have an older nt child we might be very isolated but on the other hand I would then be able to take ds to school myself so who knows?!

dinosaur Fri 01-Apr-05 13:04:01

I guess there is a degree of - how do I put it - unease if you have, on the one side, parent with sn kids and, on the other, parent with no experience of any disability of any kind, which is not such an issue if both parents have similar experiences. I think the unease is probably most marked on teh side of the parent with no experience of disabilities, though.

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