All parents have expectations from their children – when they’ll talk, walk, learn to read, etc.  Some of these expectations are different when you have a child with a mental illness especially as they get older.  Some of mine were:

  • He would potty train no later than 2 1/2 or 3
  • His tantrums would lessen until he eventually grew out of them
  • We’d go to kid-friendly events all the time
  • He’d have several friends and get invited to playdates, birthday parties and sleepovers
  • He’d love to read as much as my husband and I do

What I didn’t expect:

  • He has sensory issues so he didn’t potty train until he was 3 1/2
  • Some of those tantrums were actually meltdowns and we’re teaching him how to tell what’s bothering him before he blows up like a volcano
  • Kid-friendly events are noisy and noise-cancelling headphones don’t always cut it
  • Kids are constantly saying hi to him at school but he’s rarely invited to playdates and birthday parties and has never been invited to a sleepover
  • He didn’t start reading until 1st grade and he’s not a big fan of it

I also didn’t expect:

  • He’s so attached to me that he’d crawl back into my womb if he could
  • He has a wonderful imagination and creates the most fascinating stories which he acts out
  • Multiple doctor visits every month since he was four until he’s 18
  • He loves to snuggle and constantly gives, and asks for, hugs
  • Fighting with his school for an IEP for four years culminating in me threatening them with our state Department of Education, finding another school for him and getting him transferred in the span of a week
  • He’s extremely polite and runs to hold door open everywhere we go while saying, “Ladies first”

Do I still have expectations?  Yes, but they’re more day-to-day than long-term and that’s okay.


One thought on “Expectations

  1. I can relate to so much of this. My son asks for privacy, so I rarely write about him. He’s doing well at 14, but has struggled with impulsivity, mood disregulation, extreme sensitivity to internal and external stimuli (especially sound), and often gets migraines. School is all he can take of socializing for the day, for the week. Occasionally he still throws a tantrum (as do I, unfortunately). His father has anxiety and claustrophobia. I have bipolar disorder. The kid has loaded genes. He is a high school honors student, though. He is sweet, loving, wonderful, and gifted.

    Liked by 1 person

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