As we continue to watch the TRAVON MARTIN saga unfold, I can’t help but think about how TOUGH it is to raise children—especially Black children—these days. We want to keep them safe and protected, we want to raise them the best we can. But in today’s world we’re discovering PARENTING is harder than ever!

Let’s add to the PARENTING CHALLENGES out there, the task of parenting children with special needs.

We all know a family—a Mom, a Dad, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles—someone who’s raising a child with special needs—whether it be autism, severe health challenges or handicaps, behavioral or emotional problems, MILLIONS of families are journeying everyday caring for special needs children.

THESE ARE PARENT WARRIORS, for real.

Unfortunately in the African-American community we just don’t have OPEN dialog about parenting special needs kids. I can remember at a family reunion my aunts whispering about one of my cousin’s children. You know that’s how folk do when they think “something’s wrong” with your child. My family members were whispering, “something’s not right with him,” “he needs to be checked,” but NO ONE said ANYTHING to my cousin. That’s unfortunately how it goes. I was reading an article about WHAT NOT TO SAY TO A PARENT OF A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD, here are some things…

Don’t say I’m sorry. One Mom in the article said, “How am I supposed to answer that? ‘Don’t worry’? ‘Thank you’?” Parents raising special needs children think of their child as any other. This Mom said, “I want my kid compared to everyone else’s kids and treated like his brothers and sisters who don’t have special needs.”

Another thing the article said NOT TO SAY is: Kids aren’t really autistic––they just need discipline. The Mother in the article said, “Autistic kids can’t control their emotions as well as others, and children with sensory disorders sometimes have big reactions to small changes or sound, they can’t help it, and most times the parents can’t control it.”

Today, I hope we stop the whispers and we begin to talk OPENLY talk with one another and begin to understand from one another’s vantage point.
Today’s blog is dedicated to PARENT WARRIORS and to those loving parents who are concerned and have questions as you parent your children. Help begin the dialog by emailing me at thejenniferkeittshow@gmail.com with your thoughts or answers to these questions: How do you know if your child should be tested for Autism? When does “bad behavior” cross the line into emotional or behavioral problems that require professional help? How do you know as a parent where the resources are that can help your child? What type of insurance covers ADHD or other child dilemmas? Let’s help one another.

On THE JENNIFER KEITT SHOW FACEBOOK PAGE we have posted the show notes from yesterday’s Jennifer Keitt Show. You will find many resources and links provided by the guests who were on my show. You have GOT to hear their stories!

To hear last night’s PARENT WARRIORS Show, go to: http://www.kiss1041fm.com/s/tbw/

I am your CHIEF EMPOWERMENT OFFICER, Jennifer Keitt and my show can be heard every Sunday from 7 -8 pm on KISS 104, Atlanta’s R&B!