Military Special Needs Network

Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent

When Parents Need Parenting

ID-100162608Living life as a military spouse can be incredibly rewarding. We get to travel the world, meet new people, and, often, give our children a wide and varied world view. It also has its downside. Beyond missing our spouse and having him or her miss important markers in our and our childrens’ lives, we don’t get to see our own parents and siblings very often. We miss important markers in OUR family, too. We have to rely on the siblings we’ve left behind to help aging parents navigate doctor appointments and life changes. And it can be crummy.

Many of us have become incredibly adept at navigating the medical field – advocating for ourselves or our children. We know about getting referrals, scheduling specialists, obtaining documentation and second opinions. So when our parents become sick, we naturally want to wade into the fray and help. Sometimes that help is welcomed with open arms.

And sometimes, your dad is just a bullheaded old man who won’t listen! (Or maybe that’s just my family?)

The question is, how, from a distance, can we help? Especially when we know our parent is either not doing what they are supposed to, treatment-wise? And when they refuse to listen to professionals and others with the same disability-alike? When you know your parent is headed down a path lined with very serious health consequences?

Sure, our parents are adults, and, in theory, have a sound mind. You can lead a horse to water, blah blah blah. While I know that I cannot force my parent to make better health choices, it is still hard to hear of his ongoing refusal to do so. And what happens should one of them become incapacitated? I guess I need to get on their HIPPA list, but I don’t see them doing that without a fight.

How about you? Are any of you going through this process right now? What have you done to help your parents in this situation? Any tips or lessons learned that you could share?

Photo courtesy of


Kelly is a Navy wife and mother to three children; 16 year old NT, 6 and 5 year old boys on the spectrum; and, since life was getting a touch boring, she’s added a bun in the oven. Kelly has been featured in a collection of essays on special needs children entitled, “Wit and Wisdom From the Parents of Special Needs Children.” She can also be found at, and as a guest blogger throughout the blog-iverse. In her spare time, Kelly is the Blog Master for, and member of, the Military Special Needs Network Executive Board. You can contact her via email at

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This entry was posted on May 7, 2013 by in All and tagged , , , .
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