If there's one group of people who you can always rely on for support and acceptance, it's family - right? Right... Except when they don't.
One nice thing about family is that they'll usually stick up for you in battles against non-family, like school. They generally won't come out and support you but they'll at least make the appropriate empathetic "umms" and "aahhs" when you talk about the problems.
The problem is that families generally aren't shy about coming forward with ideas of their own. If those ideas lead to conflict with other family members then the old "favourites" games come into play and the rest of them take sides. You could find yourself on the receiving end of abuse and even "excommunication".
The Genetic Link Families vehemently deny genetic links because it implies that there is something "wrong" with them or worse, with their bloodline. Where there is clear published research available for the genetic side of things, they'll usually try to blame a specific individual who has married in. Finally, when all else fails, they'll simply deny that your child has the condition that they have been diagnosed with, citing all manner of sterotypes and anecdotal evidence to support this.
Even worse, the negative behaviours that you'd normally put down to your child's condition get blamed on your own parenting abilities. There's nothing that destroys a parent's faith in themselves quite as well as criticism from their own immediate families. Your child's hyperactivity could be blamed on their eating habits, their "low muscle tone" is blamed on computer gaming or television and their anxiety is blamed on the excess of shelter you provide.
It doesn't stop there either; a lack of reaction to a gift is your fault for "spoiling them" or for not teaching them proper manners. Meltdowns are your fault for giving into them in the past and many of their other behaviours, such as lack of eye contact are your fault for not exercising appropriate discipline.
The problem is that some of these criticisms ring true. Perhaps you do feel guilty about some of these things. All parents have nagging doubts. Does my child really have this condition? Am I just "doing it wrong"? Rather than being a bad thing, it's a sign of a good parent to question their own judgement from time to time. Perhaps there are ways that you can reduce some of the issues with changes to your parenting style.
Reduction is one thing. Elimination is another thing entirely. Your children have been diagnosed. They have a condition and it's nothing to do with your parenting abilities. Having family attack these "weak points" just isn't fair. All it does is strain family relations. No good can come of it.
Corrective Parenting As new parents, we all need a little advice from the older generation at times and when we want it, don't worry, we'll ask for it.
Sometimes though, we want to do things our own way. Sure, the response of the older generation to childhood behavioural problems was to spank all of children in the room rather than find out how a fight started but that was then - this is now. That world and those days are gone.
It's hard enough to do the shopping with a meltdown-prone child while there are other people about giving you disapproving stares. It's another thing entirely when you're trying to soothe an overwhelmed child while your mother or your mother-in-law is telling you loudly that all the child needs is a good whipping.
No Sympathy Then there's the lack of sympathy. Sometimes as parents, that's all we want. A little empathy, a little sympathy. Someone to say, "You're doing a good job". Instead, we get, "You're not the only one who has had to raise kids. We've all done it - so get over it!"
There are a few problems with this statement. First of all, I seem to remember that when I was young, the grandparents took a much more active role in the family. The baby boomer generation seems to love spending their retirement years travelling overseas, on bus trips and generally having a good time without their children.
Couple time is a thing of the past. I can remember my parents leaving us at home while they went out. That sort of thing would be unthinkable today. Parents who do that could have their children taken off them. I can also remember the older generation coming over to mind us while my parents got their much-needed couple/recharge time.
The parents of today are working increasingly longer hours. It's also much less common for mothers to be able to stay at home. Today's society depends on a double income. Then of course, there's the high divorce rate. Many of today's families are single parent.
Sure, I know we're not the only generation to have to raise kids but the conditions have changed and we need support - not criticism.
I could write reams about this, not that it's a problem in my family. My partner is the best and most supportive person I could wish for. It's just that this is a problem I hear about time and time again. "Despite the diagnosis, my partner doesn't accept that our children have .....".
It's difficult enough when you're facing opposition from the grandparents but when it comes from your immediate family, it makes life almost impossible. How can you effectively treat a condition that one parent doesn't believe exists? There are so many ways in which the disbelieving parent can block the treatment and support that your child so desperately needs.
If this is an issue in your family, then it needs to be sorted. You might be able to fight for your child now but eventually you'll be worn down. Instead of fighting, compromises are needed. For example, regardless of whether or not your child has aspergers, it's a given that speech and/or occupational therapy can help. Instead of concentrating on the diagnosis, concentrate on the possible treatment. Any help for your child is better than none at all.