15 Reasons Why Its Hard To Get Along With Special Needs Parents

Special Needs Parenting

Have you ever wondered why parents of kids with special needs always seem to be so cranky?

Or why we tend to make really inappropriate remarks so often?

Or why other parents of kids with special needs laugh at those inappropriate remarks like it’s an inside joke?

The Life We Live

Special needs parenting is a lifestyle.  For many of us, it is not the lifestyle we chose.  And even if we did choose to become a special needs family through adoption, there are still plenty of reasons to be cranky – and then joke about it later.

Here are 15 possible reasons to explain the mysterious behaviors of some special needs parents.

1. Already changed the sheets twice before 7am and cleaned excrement from some very creative and almost-inaccessible places.

2. Spouse drank the last cup of coffee in the house.  The rest of the coffee was dumped on the kitchen floor and eaten by an ecstatic child yesterday before it could be fully cleaned up.

3. Mixed the g-tube formula, fed daughter, cleaned up, got to school on time, then listened to the neighbor complaining that her 8 year old refused to eat broccoli at dinner last night.

4. Was up with a wide-awake child from 2am to 6am, then awakened by a phone call at 11:45 am.

5.  It was the pharmacy leaving a voice mail explaining that the medication refill will cost $500 out-of-pocket.  The medication is necessary for a life-threatening condition, so not refilling is not an option.

6. Just learned that the “zero tolerance for bullying” policy at school is actually a “we tolerate bullying unless your speech-impaired child gives us a name” policy.

7. Sent three polite, respectful e-mails so far today to the school team.  No more politeness remained after that.

8. 90 minute screaming meltdown 3 times per week – and we’re overdue for one, so it’ll probably be today.

9. Those meltdowns come with injuries.

10. All the remote controls in the house, including the garage door opener, have either been destroyed or have disappeared.

11. A person with good intentions said, “G-d chose you to be his parent because of your patience.”

12. Another person with good intentions said, “G-d only gives us what we can handle.”

13. While signing school papers, two kids were talking directly into each ear.

14. The child with a disability brushed his own teeth, dressed himself and tied his shoes while his able sibling refused to brush teeth, refused to get dressed and rolled on the ground instead of putting on shoes.

15. Had to decline a bunch of invitations to weddings and family reunions again this year.

Are you difficult to get along with today?  Why?


Written on 2013/03/13 by:


Karen Wang is a Friendship Circle parent. You may have seen her sneaking into the volunteer lounge for ice cream or being pushed into the cheese pit by laughing children. She is a contributing author to the anthology "My Baby Rides the Short Bus: The Unabashedly Human Experience of Raising Kids With Disabilities"
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  • Jane Brooks

    well I see most of these dates are older but I’m going to make a comment anyway. I’m just flabbergasted that you didn’t mention the stress some parents feel having to go through due process , just for the right to music or access to print.

  • BMT

    Oooooh! The coffee! That was us a couple weeks ago.

  • HappyElfMom

    Everyone pretends to love special needs children until they have to care for or interact with one on a regular basis. It’s no wonder we parents eventually start waking up with a “F you all!” attitude. And mean it. I think life would actually be easier if people didn’t pretend to care.

  • Jay

    I don’t understand why God is typed like it is some sort of profanity in your article.

  • Towanda

    A number of years ago, my husband and I swallowed our pride and made a conscious effort to reach out to family to see if anyone would be willing to take our special child on an outing (library, park, book store, having lunch) once a month, or even once a year! In some families, you don’t have to ask anyone to do anything for your kids (whether they have special needs or not) because they are that kind of family. Neither of us have “that kind of family.” We asked because a) we needed a break and b) our child needed to interact with someone other than her family of origin. Here are the responses we got: “Don’t they have organizations for that? If not, let’s get one started!” (Umm, if we were looking for an organization, we would have done that. We want her to have a relationship with YOU…family.) “This is a moot point, but did you consider having an abortion? I could do something with [Penelope], but WHAT?” (This came from a very religious, church going person). “I can’t do that.” (this person looked at me as if I had asked him to fly to mars on a jet mobile and bring back a martian). Fast forward a few years and my child is not close to these relatives (surprise!) and yet one family member is promoting herself as the “good relative” because she spends a lot of time TALKING about what needs to be done for people with disabilities. I quietly roll my eyes and think to myself, “Blah blah blah. There are always people available to do the TALK but very few do the walk.” I walk it every day with my daughter – mostly with pleasure and definitely with confidence. And while it’s rare that I am in a bad mood or have a bad day because of anything having to do with my daughter, I don’t ever apologize for it.

  • Teresa

    I don’t have a special-needs child but anyone who doesn’t “get” the energy and effort required to raise one must be clueless to much of life. I admire the work each of you does every single minute of every single day and I do not judge misbehaving children in public. We’re all fighting a hidden battle…

  • Irest Mycase

    Dont feel for me, just be thankful or grateful you are not in this role : x)

  • Brooklyn mom23

    Amen …..im not difficult lts the other ignorant know it all perants who try to dictate to me like if i have it easy and dont really no ive been up all night had to fight with one. child to put on shoes and another so on…… haha i love this post

  • bigskyot

    As an OT and mom of a child who had ADD and sensory issues, I would try to remind other therapists to be mindful what they tell parents to do at home. If the therapist wouldn’t be able to fit in or sustain these techniques or homework with their own “typical” children, why would parents of a child with significant challenges be able to do it well. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves, we are all doing the best we can at this moment in time. And, yes this dark humor relieves stress sometimes. If you don’t laugh, you may just cry. Hang in there everybody!