Author Topic: Questions about children's health  (Read 7484 times)

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Bexx27

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Re: Questions about children's health
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2012, 07:40:44 AM »
I made the decisions with the information I had at the time- and I certainly wouldn't trade them for anything, even knowing what I do now.

I would go with this for people you're close to, "that's a very personal question" for casual acquaintances, and stick with "do I know you?" or "thanks for your concern" for strangers. It's OK if some irritation comes through in your tone; etiquette doesn't require making others comfortable at your expense when they are being rude.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

Aria

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Re: Questions about children's health
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2012, 12:03:27 PM »
I believe I read this in Dear Abby: "If you forgive me for not answering, I'll forgive you for asking." Or how about: "If that were any of your business, you'd already know the answer."

BeagleMommy

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Re: Questions about children's health
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2012, 12:13:43 PM »
For complete strangers I like the "Do I know you?" line.  For acquaintences I would go with "That's rather personal, don't you think?".

Don't worry about letting your irritation show in your voice or face.  It will only give them more idea that what they asked was inappropriate.

bopper

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Re: Questions about children's health
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2012, 02:12:39 PM »
For people who you want to give a little info to, you could say "Ex-H's condition was mild and manageable so we thought that it would be a 50-50 chance of that."

SamiHami

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Re: Questions about children's health
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2012, 02:54:37 PM »
You don't owe anybody an explanation for why you chose to have chidren! For strangers I would actually say "How dare you!" and walk away, and for family I might say, "I'm sorry that my children apparenty are not good enough for you."

Personally, I don't think you are nearly as indignant as you should be. The question suggests that your children being less than "perfect" are somehow unworthy. I would find the question to be unforgivable.


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acicularis

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Re: Questions about children's health
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2012, 06:24:12 PM »
If people press you on this, I don't think it would be out of line to respond with shock "I beg your pardon? Are you saying my children should never have been born?"

Moray

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Re: Questions about children's health
« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2012, 06:51:37 PM »
That's not a question about your children's health, that's a question about your family planning, and last I checked your reproductive choices weren't anyone else's business.

I'd stick with "I cannot believe you just asked me that." or the like.
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camlan

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Re: Questions about children's health
« Reply #22 on: October 24, 2012, 08:34:53 PM »
mmswm, I think it's important to remember that just because someone asks you a question, you do not have to answer it. I know your first instinct is to be nice and nice girls always do what other people want them to do.

However, "nice" is not the same as polite. You can refuse to answer a question. You just have to make a polite refusal.

My nephew was born with a rare syndrome. Part of his treatment for the first few years was wearing a brace from his hips to the top of his head. Of course, strangers commented on it. On good days, my sister-in-law would give a very brief account--"The doctors are worried about his spine, so the brace is protecting it." On bad days, she would say, "Well, we aren't letting his dad change his diapers anymore," and walk away.

And sometimes, as with relatives who pry too much and are too judgmental, a stare of disbelief is all you need.

I will admit that there have been times that I've questioned and doubted, to myself, how my brother and SIl handle my nephew's disabilities. But I have never, ever said anything to them that wasn't supportive. Because who the heck am I to question what they do? I'm not the one living 24/7 with that child and his issues and the very real threat that he could die very young. I see my job as his aunt as being supportive of his parents, and helping out as much as I can, both with him and his younger siblings--but that help is directed by his parents, not by what I might think.

The relatives who question you are rude. You do not have to give rude people any more information than you feel comfortable with. Etiquette requires that you refuse them politely. It does not require you to listen to people who are rude and mean to you.
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The Wild One, Forever

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Re: Questions about children's health
« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2012, 08:59:43 PM »
Wait, what?  People actually do feel entitled to ask questions like this, I guess.  Sigh.

Is, "it's none of your business" considered to be a polite response?  I ask because I genuinely don't know, and because I think that's the only response I'd be able to sputter out, in your shoes.

Best wishes for the health of your children.   :)
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mmswm

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Re: Questions about children's health
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2012, 09:21:02 PM »
mmswm, I think it's important to remember that just because someone asks you a question, you do not have to answer it. I know your first instinct is to be nice and nice girls always do what other people want them to do.

However, "nice" is not the same as polite. You can refuse to answer a question. You just have to make a polite refusal.

My nephew was born with a rare syndrome. Part of his treatment for the first few years was wearing a brace from his hips to the top of his head. Of course, strangers commented on it. On good days, my sister-in-law would give a very brief account--"The doctors are worried about his spine, so the brace is protecting it." On bad days, she would say, "Well, we aren't letting his dad change his diapers anymore," and walk away.

And sometimes, as with relatives who pry too much and are too judgmental, a stare of disbelief is all you need.

I will admit that there have been times that I've questioned and doubted, to myself, how my brother and SIl handle my nephew's disabilities. But I have never, ever said anything to them that wasn't supportive. Because who the heck am I to question what they do? I'm not the one living 24/7 with that child and his issues and the very real threat that he could die very young. I see my job as his aunt as being supportive of his parents, and helping out as much as I can, both with him and his younger siblings--but that help is directed by his parents, not by what I might think.

The relatives who question you are rude. You do not have to give rude people any more information than you feel comfortable with. Etiquette requires that you refuse them politely. It does not require you to listen to people who are rude and mean to you.

I think the bolded part is what I have trouble with.  I might need to make a note and tape it to my bathroom mirror to remind myself of this.

Danika

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Re: Questions about children's health
« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2012, 09:38:42 PM »
OP/mmswm, do you think most of these folks are asking because they are thinking out loud and just curious, or are they trying to be condescending?

I think that would affect the way I would answer.

To someone who just thinks they are very comfortable with you and that you're just an open person and who thinks you wouldn't mind them asking, I'd probably reply something like "I'd rather not have this discussion" or "please, don't assume that because I'm friendly that means that I'm an open book and want to discuss intimate details of my family health history."

To someone who's purposely trying to put you down so that they can feel better about themselves, I'd say something more like "Wow, that question is out of line and this isn't your business."

I'm interested in this thread though, because the above would be my responses. That doesn't mean that they're as firm as they should be.

Onyx_TKD

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Re: Questions about children's health
« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2012, 10:29:10 PM »
OP/mmswm, do you think most of these folks are asking because they are thinking out loud and just curious, or are they trying to be condescending?

I think that would affect the way I would answer.

To someone who just thinks they are very comfortable with you and that you're just an open person and who thinks you wouldn't mind them asking, I'd probably reply something like "I'd rather not have this discussion" or "please, don't assume that because I'm friendly that means that I'm an open book and want to discuss intimate details of my family health history."

To someone who's purposely trying to put you down so that they can feel better about themselves, I'd say something more like "Wow, that question is out of line and this isn't your business."

I'm interested in this thread though, because the above would be my responses. That doesn't mean that they're as firm as they should be.

I think I'd add a little more to the bolded:
"I'd rather not have this discussion. I have three wonderful boys, and I will never regret having them." (or "second-guess," whichever sounds right to you)

I think even well-meaning askers really need to have their attention (gently) called to what they're implying. This question isn't about the decision of whether or not to try for some hypothetical future baby, knowing the risks; it's second-guessing the choice to have three beloved children who already exist. What good could possibly come of that kind of speculation?

camlan

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Re: Questions about children's health
« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2012, 08:30:37 AM »
mmswm, if it would help, think about how your responses to these people make your kids feel. You are their role model. You are modeling to them how they should respond to people who ask inappropriate questions and make unwarranted assumptions about them (as regards their handicapped parking permits).

Your sons watch your behavior. It shapes how they feel about themselves and their condition. While you might have a hard time standing up for yourself, I doubt you have a difficult time standing up for your kids.

It's difficult enough being the parent of kids with special needs. Why let all these rude people make it harder?
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn

JeanFromBNA

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Re: Questions about children's health
« Reply #28 on: October 25, 2012, 03:10:11 PM »
For nosey strangers, "I beg your pardon!" followed by an icy glare is the way to go if you can't ignore them.  In situations where there is at least some element of camaraderie, like the doctor's waiting room (if you have judged it such), one of the tricks that I use is to answer the question that I really want to answer:  "Ben is in 4th grade, and on the chess team.  We're all reading the Harry Potter books now; I didn't think that it would take so long!  Ben understands most of the symbolism, but George  just likes the action." 

bluesky51201

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Re: Questions about children's health
« Reply #29 on: October 30, 2012, 10:26:06 PM »
I wouldn't answer them at all, I would just stare at them in complete shock and if I said anything at all it would be "how could you ask such an insensitive question?"  I have heard the same thing, my oldest son has autism and I have two other children.  If we lived our lives planning for the "what ifs" that could happen we would never really live.