Please Stop Saying My Kids Will Never Make It In The Real World

I have been getting the comments more and more lately.

How is your son ever going to make it in the real world if you homeschool him through high school? 

Your kid needs to learn to behave in a restaurant, in church, his class, in the waiting room. He needs to get ready for the real world.

In the real world, children like yours never make it. The become a drain on society and I’m tired of paying for poor parenting like yours. 

I delete them as fast as they come – not only for my own sanity, but for any other mom, struggling and coming to my site, Facebook page or Instagram feed for a little encouragement and support. (Ain’t no one got time for that around here. We are too busy trying to remember our child’s last medicine dose and when what paperwork we need to send the insurance company tomorrow.)

I think it’s happening more often because my children are older. Or, perhaps it’s because I am more comfortable sharing the parenting choices I’ve made, eight years into this blogging business.

I delete the comments, but the sentiment stays with me all the time.

What if they’re right? What if am failing my children?

Please Stop Saying My Kids Will Never Make It In The Real World First, it's rude. Second, you're wrong. My children are neither an exception nor an example. #specialneeds #specialneedsmotherhood #autism #adhd

Because my boys are both teenagers now, the stakes certainly feel higher.

In some states, they could be charged as an adult. My oldest technically could have his drivers license now, if he were remotely interested in pursuing it. The real world is coming for them, like it or not.

But what I want you to know is this:

The older my children get, the more they surprise me. 


Last weekend, my oldest and I went to lunch together. As we chatted about guitars and his new favorite show, he put his fork down, looked me straight in the eye and said, “We need to talk about college, Mom. I have several ideas about what I’d like to do. There’s a trade school that looks amazing, but I can also see myself going to a community college first and then studying marine biology at a four year. I really need to think about getting a job this summer to start to save up for whatever I decide.”

I was flabbergasted. I seriously had a bite of food in my mouth that I stopped chewing the moment he started talking and it almost fell out of my mouth.

Not because I don’t see how capable he is. Not because I disagree with his assessment.

I was stunned because of his sense of ownership and accountability. I was stunned that he brought it up and that he didn’t need me to instigate it.


Please Stop Saying My Kids Will Never Make It In The Real World

You see, I often believe the lies I hear every day, the lies that are embedded in all these comments. I worry that my children will inevitably live in my basement and play video games all day because I have coddled them.

Yet, as my children get older, what is becoming more and more clear is that all of this work they’ve done, I’ve done, we’ve done to help them understand their differences and live well despite them, is paying off. As my children get older, I see that protecting them when they need it, prioritizing their mental health over typical expectations and just giving them a break sometimes, is creating confidence and ability beyond what I expected at these ages.

I am so proud of them I could burst.

Please Stop Saying My Kids Will Never Make It In The Real World

Please, stop saying my kids will never make it in the real world.

First of all, how rude.

Second, you are wrong. My boys have dealt with more reality than most adults I know, and never give up. They are compassionate, generous and committed to doing the very best they can, despite the odds being stacked against them.

Here’s the thing – they will fail. They may end up living with me at some point in their adulthood, maybe even all of their adulthood. I have no idea what the future really holds for us and for their health.

They will mess up. They will make poor choices and life will knock them down.

This is how we all learn to make it in the world.

My children are neither an exception nor an example.

They are simply a part of this family, where we do the very best we can, and love each other along the way.

It’s how we make it in the real world.

Am I Spoiling My Child or Accommodating His Special Needs?

Moms Of Children With Differences: It’s Difficult, But It Doesn’t Mean You’re Doing it Wrong


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  1. I don’t know you or your children, but I have read your blog enough that I know this….they WILL make it in this world and they WILL be okay. They have love, support, and know how to work incredibly hard for every single success they have. Those things alone show just how successful they will be in their lives. Well done to all of you!

  2. Susy Downer says:

    Your post made me cry. I am so proud of you and your boys! Thank you for persevering and making the continual effort to share your struggle along the way. Thank you for calling it like it is, as in calling out rude readers to stop it! They have no idea the hundreds – maybe thousands! – of moms and dads you are encouraging who are hanging by a thread some days, to continue to nurture, love, turn the other cheek, go without sleep, research and research some more, with few breaks, in order to put their children in the best position to accomplish what God has for them to do in their lives. I rejoice with you in your son’s wisdom and I will pray that on a particularly difficult day, you will NOT believe the lies. Believe this, though, God is so pleased with you Shawna!

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Susy. I am so grateful for your support!

  3. It is so rude. I experience this more than I would like to admit. Most of the time I’m so taken aback by their rudeness, I’m speechless, then embarrassed, then angry. I

    1. Yep. I totally understand.
      I have the same reaction.

  4. Yvette Nugent says:

    Don’t doubt yourself. It’s so easy to follow the norm and so difficult to create your own path. I had my first son at 37. He screamed for the first 16 months. He was such a difficult baby in so many ways. I always would gaze wistfully at those moms who could bring their newborns and babies to Starbucks to grab a coffee in the mornings. I would have cleared it out pretty quickly just standing in line because my son screamed like he was being tortured. 17 years later…he’s amazing. You need to raise your boys in the way that deep down in your gut is right to you and your family. So many kids who are mainstreamed run the gamut of personality types. Same as homeschooled kids. Kids are kids and come prewired. You are providing a much more sensitive, loving, pragmatic, education than other kids get. Your kids are very lucky and will benefit from what you are giving them.

    1. So well said, Yvette. Thank you!

  5. Most of those people have no idea what they’re talking about or the challenges you’ve been overcoming with your family (and I mean that literally, not figuratively). Just keep deleting those comments and keep up the good work!

    1. So very true. Thank you, Billie!

  6. That’s when you reply, “Get behind me, Satan!” That and please stop being jealous that you aren’t with us during our socially busy work days. When we visit Bob at the Hardware store, Miss Lisa at Drama, Steven the Rock Star Veteran at the Fire Hall because we’re cultured. More than you in EVERY way! 🙂 God bless. They will persevere. They will invent and create what kiddos who sit in boring rows will never take on. Bravo for speaking up!!

    1. From your lips to God’s ears, Dee.
      Thank you!

  7. I just want to remind you that there are plenty of people who graduate from high school and are a drain on society (and have no skills to survive in the real world on their own). Keep loving on your children. A mother who is with them 24/7 and willing to sacrifice everything for the education and upbringing of her children gives them the best shot at a normal adulthood. Love your children despite the evil and unkind people of this world who will tell you a government institution knows what is best for your uniquely created children.

  8. Thank you, again, for your words and wisdom. ❤️. Your boys, my boys, our boys are not just entering the real world, they will be creating it. A foundation of love, acceptance, continual work and rest is exactly what our real world can use. Our boys are not isolated from the real world of challenges. They are supported through them. Keep going, Mama. We’ll head into the real world future together. And we will be amazed, saddened, proud and tired together. ?

  9. Amen amen amen amen!!!!
    I was a child who had so many problems, severe depression, anxiety, that included suicidal ideation and self jnjury. I had multiple surgeries besides childhood cancer as a teenager. I had a very traumatic childhood and a family where emotional/mental health was so low of a priority, it never made the list. This is one of the biggest reasons, I am pro-homeschool (and respectful of families who don’t). I spent the first 6 years of an adulthood learning all of the emotional/mental/life skills that no public system taught me and of course my family didn’t. I lived in the real world as a child and the real world doesn’t often teach you the skills needed to survive that very environment. What does is a family who prioritizes spiritual/emotional/mental health, a child’s strengths, the strength of a healthy(ish) family, and the values and skills that go with it. With that foundation, it is often easier to learn how to do adulthood and the real world than vice versa. I love how your son affirmed your heart’s direction. I save almost every article you post for our family’s future. Thank you. Keep doing what you’re doing and deleting those comments.

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