Talking to Your Friend About Their Child
What would you do if you suspected that your friend’s child had a learning disability? Would you feel comfortable enough to bring it up to friend or would you just ignore it? Either way, it seems like a hard choice to make.
On one hand, you are telling your friend that her child is imperfect and no one wants to believe that , never mind, hear it said out loud by someone else. Your other choice is to say nothing but that helps no one and seems a little cowardice. Sure, it may save you an uncomfortable conversation with your friend, but you are doing the child no favors at all.
You bringing it up may be the only thing that will get this kid the help he needs.
You may have a friend or family member who has a child who you notice may be struggling with normal developmental skills. It may not be anything you can exactly put your finger on. It may just be a hunch. If you notice it, the child’s parent probably notices it as well, but maybe they don’t.
Maybe they are too close to it. Maybe they are in denial. Maybe it’s their first baby and they have no point of reference and they can’t see it.
Always convey your concerns with care and support, never with judgment or pushy interference. Many parents are very sensitive about their parenting skills and will feel attacked. Sit your friend down in a non-threatening place, maybe meet for coffee, and just bring up that you have noticed a few things about little Johnny that indicate that he may have a slight delay.
Who knows? Maybe they are already aware of it and it is being handled. Maybe they have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe they feel it is none of your business or maybe they will be grateful that you said it out loud so that they don’t have to, and now they have someone to turn to for support through this situation. Or maybe they will be so mad and offended that they will scream and yell and walk away forever.
The main thing is that you approach them with no judgment and only care and support in your heart. If you have tried to gently bring up the subject with a friend or family member and they did not want to listen, maybe you just need to wait and bring it up again at a later date. Be supportive, but don’t mention the subject again.
The bottom line is that you brought it up. You tried to be an advocate for their child and even if they walk away, eventually they will realize that you came from a place of love for the child. Hopefully, they will not take offense and instead take your words into consideration and bring up the concerns to their pediatrician.
If the situation were reversed, would you want your friend or family member to say anything to you?
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