Gina Gallagher is co-author with her sister Patricia Konjoian of Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid: A Survival Guide for Ordinary Parents of Special Kids. I first saw this book at NAMI’s 2011 National Convention in Chicago, and found it full of useful and realistic information to go with the catchy title.
The authors also write a Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid blog , and I highly recommend that as well.
Since Ben Behind His Voices will be at this year’s NAMI Convention in Seattle, I hope to find Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid available there once again, right along with mine. I could have used this book when Ben was going through frightening changes that shook my parenting confidence to the core.
Here are some things not to say, according to the authors (details in their book and blog):
1) “I don’t know how you do it.“
2) “Give me your kid for a week and I’ll whip him in to shape.”
3) “You poor thing.”
4) “I’m so lucky, my kids are healthy.“
5) “If that were my kid, he’d be different.”
As the mother of an “imperfect kid” whose imperfection happens to be gradual-onset schizophrenia which began in his mid-teens, I have been on both sides of the fence; I went from proud Mom (though I like to think I didn’t brag) to confused/embarrassed/guilty Mom, and back to proud Mom with a new set of criteria for my pride. If you need a friendly, realistic and exceptionally empathetic and informative guide to how to maneuver your way through the world of “Perfect Families”, I highly recommend this book. Check it out!