Silence is almost guaranteed to be the death of your child’s future! It is time to start speaking up in every area of your child’s life. It’s not just about speaking up to the educators at the child’s school. You have to speak up to yourself, whoever is a part of your “village” or support which is usually family, friends, counselors, babysitters, church family and or mentors. You need to speak up to anyone who has a direct and intentional influence in your child’s life. There is no way to be everywhere, all the time, in every situation. You have to set the tone for how people respond to your child.
We expect so much from other people when it comes to educating and caring for our children. We have to understand that we are our child’s life line. If you are on this blog no matter your role in a child’s life, you are their life line. I first had to start speaking up to myself. I would tell myself out loud “stop feeling sorry for yourself and for him because it’s not changing anything. Show him that he matters!” I had a lot of family and friends who would advise me on what I should do with him. I believe all the advice was coming from a loving space but at some point I had to speak up and so thanks but no thanks. I started showing up to parent teacher conferences with his report cards with highlighter and questions written all over it because I didn’t understand something or had suggestions. When we go to counseling and they ask how he’s doing, I no longer get embarrassed I just let it be known, the good, bad and the ugly.
One day, in the beginning of our journey I woke up and I grabbed my son’s paper file folder I have for him and I decided to take him in for an evaluation. They took him back and did the normal few minute test. The social worker came back and said “our protocol is that if the child isn’t in any immediate situation then we just suggest you keep his scheduled appointment with his counselor and use the resource line if you have any questions.” She then proceeded to ask “is there anything else you need?” Now my old self would’ve said “oh okay, thank you,” but this empowered mom who speaks up said “here is my son’s folder with any paperwork from previous counselors and school that you may look at. His appointment with the new counselor isn’t for another three months because that’s the next opening. I understand you have protocol but I have a child and I’m a parent who is asking for help. Can you go back to the on-call team and tell them I don’t need a break from my child, I need help, resources and support.” The on-call social worker came back and said “the team decided we will keep him and do some more extensive observations on him and we got his appointment rescheduled for two days from now.” Don’t let people put your child into a category or make them just another number. Speak up even when people tell you “well we don’t normally do that, or that’s now how it works.” I understand there are protocols to be followed in the medical field and in education. In some cases protocols are there to reduce cost, labor, and to make things more convenient. I wasn’t rude to the social worker, I just challenged her scripted routine/protocol answer. As you notice it didn’t take much except speaking up, being very direct about what I needed and by being transparent.
I can’t wait to share with you my many experiences where speaking up really changed the direction of my son’s life and my confidence as an advocate.
“What you allow is what will continue.”