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Kids with Labels

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

I’m involved in creating a coaching cooperative where we support each other in building our

businesses (LOVE women helping women). In working with this group I've discovered my primary audience is parents of Kids with Labels. You know who you are. This isn’t an exhaustive list. There are diagnoses and learning differences and “out of the box” kids who defy categorization. 2E/gifted, any clinical "disorder" including ADHD, ASD, depressed, dyslexic, non-cisgender, fill in the blank, literally..._____________. I’m not a big fan of labels but they can help navigate this system we call society.

The label isn’t really important; what matters is how you, the parent, feel about it. Most parents with these kids have some amount of worry, fear, or anger for their kids' present or future experience, as in, how can I support them in having a quasi-normal social life or will they be able to handle college? Unfortunately, parents of so-called neurotypical kids, i.e., all the other kids in this huge pie, usually don't get what you're dealing with on the emotional side. Even if they feel compassion for your situation, they often just can't relate to your concerns or offer examples of how their kids are hard too (my personal favorite). Yes, all parenting is challenging, but these labels require next-level parenting and self-awareness skills. What do we generally do as parents of these square pegs in round holes? We cover things up or make excuses for our child's behavior or lose sleep at night or cope with substances/food or spend all our time and money on therapies, experts, and expensive programs; investing little to nothing in our own needs. Or some combination of these before we hit a wall and burnout or file bankruptcy. Are you aligning with this truth just a teensy bit?

I resisted my own child’s labels for a long time out of fear they would be misunderstood or somehow maligned. They ended up being misunderstood and maligned despite my anxieties, which caused both of us a lot of pain. I have since recognized that I was projecting my own history of rejection and feelings of not belonging onto their experience. My child is now on a journey of self-discovery, having embraced their diagnoses along with adding new identifiers. It’s possible my decision to eschew labels was a disservice to their understanding of themselves. I’m working to make amends, which has only been possible by doing my own inner work. We parents do the best we can at any given time, and the best approach always is to accept the present as it is and make choices based on who we are today, one interaction and one conversation at a time.

We love our kids no matter what and our own stuff gets mixed in no matter what. It’s unavoidable unless you’re a Zen master or have worked through all your issues (hint, basically nobody). If my story resonates with you, please know that you are not alone and do not have to suffer in silence. The mental health awareness movement is cracking the stigma of these differences under the loose umbrella of neurodivergence, but we have a long way to go. The best way to support our children is to manage our own feelings about their challenges, particularly the grief around our unrealized dreams for them. This is the solution not only so that we can make the clearest, most objective decisions on their behalf and meet them where they need us to emotionally, but perhaps more importantly, so we can live our own lives and not be dominated by their needs either consciously or unconsciously. I am a completely different parent because of EFT, and I offer hope if you are either pulling your hair out and don't know where to turn, or mostly have your crap together but could use a tune-up when stuff crops up. If you are curious about whether my methods can help, I encourage you to download my free video to take the first step in using this technique to rewire your brain.

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