Last week we shared a link on Facebook to an article titled, “I Admit It: I Like My Child Better When He Is Drugged.” It was written by Kristie Mae, the creator of Abandoning Pretense and a regular contributor at Nickmom.com and Bluntmoms.com.
Kristie did not ask us to share the link. I logged into Facebook that morning and the article somehow appeared in my newsfeed. Having just gone through a medication change for my son, this was a topic I thought would be of great interest to our AutismAwareness.com community so I decided to share.
Once the article was posted, there was some typical discussion on both sides of the fence: The expected “Don’t use medication” to “Whatever works for the child” and “I can relate to this” comments.
For a topic that I expected to maybe become a little heated, it was quite well received.
But then, over the next few hours, something would happen that really concerned me.
One commentator started off by saying she refused to read the article, and later said: “that’s where I realized she’s definitely drugged her kid to make HER life easier, because that’s obviously not a parent that can deal with having a challenging child.”
There was another comment from the same person that was much harsher, and we ultimately ended up banning her. Yes, we can do that.
Why? Because there’s a line you shouldn’t cross.
Our writers, our friends, and the people we find – every piece of content we try to curate for our Facebook page is derived from a hunt for honest and open opinions and stories from people who live with or are exposed to Autism.
This content is not easy to write. In fact, it’s often some of the most personal moments a writer has chosen to share with the world. And this content, these opinions, those words were not created to sell ads, create shock value or plug a brand. They were written to share and help others going through the same challenges.
Some years ago I made a mistake. I called someone a Bad Mom. Yes, I did. I’m not proud. In fact, it’s one of the biggest regrets of my life.
I didn’t release how powerful those words were. I didn’t realize what I meant to say should never have been expressed in those two words.
I didn’t mean it as hard as it sounds, but no matter what my reasoning I learned that you NEVER EVER call someone who is trying day after day to provide the best care for their child a Bad Parent.
In fact, you should never say these two words, period. A Bad Mom or Bad Dad. These words are so wrong for those who are trying.
If I could turn back the clock, I would.
So when one of our community members wants to personally attack one of our authors or some writer whose story we felt compelled enough to share, then we need to step in.
Any content provider on AutismAwareness.com should know we do our best to make you safe from personal attacks, from ignorance, from name calling. Healthy debates are great. Cyber bullying (especially by adults) is just 100% wrong and ridiculous. We will not stand for it.
Our kids have challenges. Our marriages have challenges. Our personal lives have challenges. Our work lives have challenges. Our entire lives have challenges. This community, however, is meant to inspire, meant to bring together people, meant to be a place to share.
My team spends more hours deleting spam comments, increasing filters and monitoring the page than you will ever realize. We have also spent a significant amount of personal money to build this community. All of this is for the simple goal of a safe community.
Why? Because I need it. You need it. Our kids need it.
I thought I was alone for a long time. Many of you, I am sure, feel the same way. We are not, nor ever have been. We just needed to embrace the community of people around us facing the same challenges.
So, on my watch I promise that we will do everything we can to continue to make our Facebook page a safe community where you should never be afraid to share. I can’t promise we will not see the above events happen again, but I can promise that those people will be quickly banned.
Autism is hard. Parenting is hard. Parenting + Autism is incredibly hard.
But we’re all doing the best we can, and that’s what makes someone a good parent.
To those who do not understand this, Well, go fly a kite, to be polite.