Tips for Questioning the Special Needs Parent …

I was recently asked by someone if she could ask some questions about my son that has special needs.  The person who asked had every right to ask questions.  Why?  Because she is truly invested in our family and in my son.  

But this led to us talking about who does and doesn’t have the right to ask personal questions about kids with special needs.  Some people think they have the right to ask such personal questions that it sends me over the edge at times.  I have stopped going to parties of even close friends because there will be people there that think because we are a friend of a friend that gives them the A-Okay to ask invasive questions.  Think again, people!

Here are a few tips to know if you should or shouldn’t ask questions.  

Are you a close family member?  And by close I don’t just mean related.  Do you see each other, interact, hang out often?  Then you have probably earned the right to ask questions.  You probably already know the detailed stuff.  Do you see each other only on holidays?  With so many forms of technology to connect you may be close and only actually see each other at family gatherings.  But if you only speak at the potlucks then maybe ease into some general questions first and see where it leads.  Take your que from the parents.  If they seem open to more questions then by all means keep the dialog open.  If your questions get answered with short yes or no’s.  It might be best to end the interrogation before you get punched and one of those fabulous family fights breaks out.

Are you a close friend?  And by close I mean would she answer your text in the middle of the night?  For me, other than the aforementioned close family, this is a pretty short list of about two people.  I could maybe stretch it to three for an emergency.  But I NEEEED my sleep so that text better be important.  And those two people know that.  They also know at what time I will no longer be answering texts.  Sure, you can send as many as you want.  But these two people are the only two people that will get an answer from me after that time and they know this.  So go ahead and test this theory if you think you need to, but my advice is to think it through first.  (I get kind of cranky after a certain time.  My family calls it the vampire coming out if that gives you any warning, hehe.)  If you don’t think the special needs parent would answer your text in the middle of the night, then don’t ask her personal questions about her child.  If she leads the conversation to these subjects, then she has given you an open door to ask some questions.  But be gentle.

This leads me to one more thing.  Privacy.  If you are privy to this child’s private details, please, PLEASE!!!!, do not share this with other people.  (Remember, I asked nicely and said please.  I know if I find my child’s private details have been shared without permission I can get a wee bit nasty.  And FYI, so ends the open door policy to the private info.)  You have been invited into someones personal and sensitive information.  No one wants to hear that friends of friends are “praying for you” or whatever on Facebook.  Your close family and friends are not necessarily their close family and friends.  Err on the side of discretion.

So ends today’s tips on questioning the special needs family …

Bible verse I’m loving today:
Proverbs 17:17

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