Stephen Covey tells that story

about the man on the bus in his Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. The point isn’t that it’s OK to let your children run wild on the bus. The point was that his own view of the situation was changed once he knew the story, that he was moved from a place of condemnation to a place of sympathy and wanting to help. (and a point he wasn’t particularly making is that parents are human and get overwhelmed)

I too have a special needs child whose disability is not visible. . I’ve had so many people over the years tell me I should “just make” her do something. Make her go to school. Make her clean her room. Make her do her homework. On and on. She’s so smart, she “should” be able to do her work, she “should” be a success.

Believe me, I am not a wimpy parent. I spent years handing out every sort of punishment and following through on every threat and consequence. , We’ve had teachers, principals, social workers, counselors, doctors, a psychologist, a psychopharmacologist, a speech-language pathologist who is a nationally known expert on executive function skills, and the truant officer and the department of child protective services involved at various points. If there was something that anyone who met this child could suggest that might help, I’ve been willing to try it, and I’m not done trying.

Slowly with the help of multiple people and multiple medications we are at least starting to learn what is up with this kid.

Having the labels has helped a bit in fending off the condemnation: it’s not lack of parenting, we understand now that there are real, physical things wrong in her brain, and all the parenting skills in the world won’t change that. Medication and well-targeted therapy might.

And I’ll tell you this: as hard as it is for us parents it is much harder for our children. My daughter is very intelligent and had no idea why things that were so easy for others were so impossible for her. She carried around her secrets as she was being scolded and punished for not trying, for disobeying, for rebelling, when underneath she desperately wanted to be *able* to do everything we were asking her to do. And instead of being her support. me and my high expectations were part of the problem for her for a long time.

Anyway, I will stop ranting, just saying, be slow to judge and quick to help , please.