The game changes big time when your child is dealt an official diagnosis. New rules are established for your home, for those who care for your child, and for your family and friends as a group and as individuals. No matter what these new guidelines are, there are bound to be family members or friends who fight them. Whether it’s due to denial that your child has a condition or just a flat out refusal to change, the situation can become more delicate than you had imagined and relationships can be put to the test. Hurt feelings and miscommunications abound. So what can you do to get through to the other side and make sure everyone in your life is onboard with the changes?
* Lay out the new rules in a simple, to the point fashion. If you waver in any way, you or your rules will not be taken seriously.
* Post signs at your front door if you need to. This could include your shoes off, no-smoking, locked doors, and hand-washing policies.
* Include any rules in party invitations you send. This could include not attending the party if the guest comes down with an illness that your child should not be exposed to, even if it is “just a cold”. It is better for the invited guests to know ahead of time than to face awkwardness when the party starts.
* If someone protests or implies that you are being over-protective or are over-reacting to the situation, stand your ground. You know what is best for your child. It may help to start by saying that these are the doctor’s rules and have information on hand explaining the reasoning behind them.
* If someone admits to having difficulty accepting the diagnosis, point them in the direction of the foundation for the condition, or a support group for extended family and friends.
* Divide and conquer. If it is your spouse’s family or friends that are refusing to play nice, let your spouse handle it, especially if your relationship with the person is already a bit shaky. It will be easier for your spouse to mend any hurt feelings since the relationship was stronger to begin with.
* If all else fails, you may need to cut people out of your life. Some will fade away on their own over time, while you may have to simply stop inviting others over. If they cannot take your child’s condition seriously or show some caring and compassion, they may not be the friend you thought they were.
* Finally, remember that you are the best advocate for your child. Have confidence in your abilities to parent and always stand up for what is best for your child.