Let’s talk ADULT PARENT FRIENDS. But I’m not talking just any parent friends.
I’m talking about parent friends of disabled kids. Medically compromised kids. Parents that know the struggle of getting things in line for their kids while also trying to achieve some social normalness in our own lives. Let’s talk about those friends.
The struggle is beyond real finding ones that you click with. You want to have that immediate bond with them. Someone you can rely on to assist with your kids & you’d do the same. Someone that understands your stress about your upcoming IEP meeting or therapy evaluations.
Some may say I have high standards but I know myself & the anxiety that grows when things involve Jackson. & I feel like there is a niche of parents out there that can relate!
LETS BE FRIENDS!
But over the years, I've realized something.
While I do have certain standards to my parent friends, one person does not need to hold every title. Does that make sense??
There’s the “vent about whatever BS is happening involving J’s therapies or school” friends.
The “get me out of the house & take my mind off the stress” friends.
The “seasoned vets in the Disabled community” friends.
& the “I want to help but don’t know where to start. What can I do?” friends.
Should there be a Unicorn friend that hits multiple or *gasp* all of them - JACKPOT! However, I don’t need to expect it with every potential friend interaction. (It’s probably healthier to have different friend circles anyway!)
It’s just too much pressure to put on a single person to be it all. Plus, I know should someone not meet my expectations after putting them on a certain pedestal, I drop them from that pedestal VERY quickly without a second thought. While I understand that’s not “the best” practice, it would also result in no friends for me because then everyone would let me down at some point & that’s just not a thing for anyone.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
when making Adult Parent Friends of Disabled Kids
1. Don’t assume your version of disabled matches theirs. No 2 Autistic kids are the same & the same goes for every other disability.
2. Genuinely ask questions about their child’s diagnosis. Don’t just wait for your time to interject & try not to immediately compare it to your kids.
3. Observe the kids around each other & see if it’s a match. Doesn’t have to be a perfect match, but make sure they can tolerate each other & have the potential to learn from each other.
4. Parenting styles. These DO need to be somewhere in the same range if you’d like the friendship to move further. If the styles aren't similar, it's a no.
5. Not all Adult Friends have to be Parents. While it can be easier to adjust things for those that are already parents, kids aren’t part of everyone’s plan but they are still incredible assets. Children don’t need to be the only way to connect with a person.
& that’s that! The phrase is very true - “it takes a village”. You have the opportunity to build that village around your kid & family so make sure it’s people you actually enjoy & support you. This village is not here for toxic positivity but we’re also not here to drag you. This village is a special kind of friendship & borders on family. Choose them wisely & love them hard.