Has anyone watched the TV series “Parenthood“?
It’s one of my favourite favourite TV shows. Season 2 is about half way through on the DSTV series channel. Since I started watching it I saw parallels with my own life in so many of the characters and situations…
The series revolves around a big family of four siblings and the parents of these siblings, the siblings’ relationships with their partners and children, and each other. The grandfather is cantankerous and opinionated and loves his family. The grandmother is wise and patient and loves her family. There’s a single mom of 2 teenagers with an absentee dad. There’s a guy who discovered his ex-girlfriend hadn’t told him she was pregnant when they split five or so years before. There’s a couple with a genius IQ daughter who are TTC. And there’s a couple with a teenage daughter and an Aspie son.
Most who know me will know that movies and such do not make me cry. I may get a lump in my throat but I don’t actually cry. This show makes me cry.
An episode that really hit me hard was when the grandfather wanted to take one of his grandsons fishing because he takes all the boys fishing at a special place and they spend the night just him and them and it’s a tradition and and and.
The grandson in question is 7 or 8 years old, and he has severe Aspergers Syndrome. The boy’s own family has been battling with living with and treating his syndrome and they have changed schools and hired a coach for him and so on and so forth, and whilst they do not keep his Aspergers a secret or anything- their extended family has no idea what they really deal with unless they accidentally witness a meltdown.
When the grandfather started planning the fishing trip, the Aspie’s parents tried to speak to him about being on his own with the Aspie, and gave him a folder containing information and suggestions to read on how to handle potential issues with the Aspie. They have tried repeatedly to explain- to the grandfather especially- how their son is very different to a regular kid and has to be “handled” differently to other children because of his Asperger Syndrome.
The grandfather didn’t read the file and didn’t pay attention, and as a result the fishing trip was nothing short of a disaster, the Aspie only calming down after the grandfather called his parents to ask for help.
It broke my heart because at one stage I was giving folders like that to my family to read about my knucklehead’s ADHD. It took a long time for me to talk to my family about my son’s diagnosis and to tell them what I was dealing with, and it took even longer for them to actually pay attention to what I was saying!
Anyone who is parent to a special needs child will be able to identify with this situation. We are too often fobbed off as over-reacting or being over protective, and at the same time judged to be too lax in disciplining our children.