Vulnerable parents

10 Jun

I read this phrase often on the web: vulnerable parents. Usually in some discussion of families involved in alternative medicine or vaccine causation. It’s a phrase that bothers me.

I have to say that I find the phrase very odd. Odd as in it is redundant. To be a parent by definition is to be vulnerable. Every time we make connections to others, be they children, spouses, friends, heck even pets, we make ourselves vulnerable. Of course we feel pain when a loved one suffers or is in pain.

If you’ve ever spent the night in the ER with a kid with a broken arm, you know what I mean. Worse in many ways is to be the one at home while your kid is in the hospital, waiting for messages.

We are all vulnerable. Parent or no. Need I say it: autistic or no.

Vulnerable parent. That phrase has no meaning for me.

It is how we deal with our vulnerabilities that defines us. And I believe that’s what people really mean when they say “vulnerable parents”: parents who make choices they probably wouldn’t if they weren’t influenced by their love of their children.

There’s a whole spectrum of ways people respond to their vulnerability. And, yes, for some parents of autistic kids that involves being susceptible to some very questionable and poorly supported ideas. But it’s too simplistic to attribute this to “vulnerable” parents. We all are vulnerable.

6 Responses to “Vulnerable parents”

  1. Vincent Iannelli, MD June 10, 2011 at 15:49 #

    I think the thing that makes some parents more vulnerable than they might be otherwise is the support they could get from having a good relationship with a pediatrician they trust.

    • Sullivan June 11, 2011 at 02:10 #

      Vincent Iannelli, MD,

      thanks for commenting!

      I count myself very lucky to have an excellent pediatrician. Very good and good to work with. I often read people write about going to DAN because they didn’t like their pediatrician. It strikes me that the first step is to find another pediatrician. Find someone you can work with.

  2. Stuart Duncan June 10, 2011 at 16:16 #

    I think, for some people, what they mean to say is “victim parents” as in, “big pharma went out of their way to develop harmful life saving vaccines and stole my child away from me just so that they could make more money” kind of victims.

  3. Leila June 10, 2011 at 19:19 #

    Maybe the best word would be “susceptible”.

  4. Leila June 10, 2011 at 19:22 #

    By the way I have to add that most parents have both their vulnerable and strong moments. At times I can be a rock and at others – like the other day when my son had to do an ear lavage at the doctor – I almost pass out, literally.

  5. stanley seigler June 10, 2011 at 21:11 #

    [Leila say] Maybe the best word would be “susceptible”.


    the best word is victim…of big pharma (BP); ABA promotional science; and numerous greedy bastards who promote crap cures/programs…in days of yore it was bettelheim and his refrigerator parents s–t…

    it’s a sick sick world…

    and parents not the primary victims…the precious children and dear adult friends are the real victims.

    stanley seigler

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