Telling parents their child has a problem is not an easy task. Do you tell parents their child has a difficulty and risk that the label is going to be hard to remove, or follow the parents’ desire to believe their child will “grow out of it” and find out in Grade 6 that the kid is unable to read a single word?
Although I understand the problems with telling parents the truth about their kids, I believe that not telling causes more problems. When I talk to people who disagree with me, their main argument is “Parents do not want to know”, but I know that whenever I presented “bad” news in a “good” way, parents considered me a savior.
When Amanda had her second child, she invited us to stay over for the weekend. Her older son, who was at the same age as Eden, was the most wonderful kid and we got to their place to see Eleanor, who was a 3-month-old baby. Eleanor was gorgeous and while Eden and Amanda’s son went to play, we spent a wonderful weekend talking to Amanda and her husband Peter. All day long, Eleanor was either in their arms or crying. I had heard many crying babies, but I had never heard any baby cry that much. Amanda said she had been like that since she was born.
When people debate what to say to parents when their kids have problems, they say, “Parents don’t want to know”, but I say that if the parents had not thought something was wrong, they would never have come to see me. After years of following what I believe my job is – to highlight the challenges and the gifts and make sure kids develop without obstacles – I feel very confident telling the truth. My reports are the truth and nothing but the truth, and when I do not know exactly what the problem is, I recommend seeing someone who does.