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Terri Mauro

Indulging in the Occasional Parent-Child Identity Theft

By November 8, 2012

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Note 20The cliche about parents and children and one pretending to be the other generally involves youngsters forging get-out-of-school-free notes and pretending to be Mom when the principal calls. In this as in so many other things, parents of kids with special needs often find themselves out of the mainstream. We're more likely to be the ones pretending -- logging in to Facebook as our child to make sure everything's safe, scanning mail and e-mails directed at them, helping way too much on homework until their words become ours, stepping in to advocate the way they would self-advocate if their advocacy muscles were as developed as ours. I won't say we'd go so far as to, say, on a random Thursday afternoon, pretend to write an e-mail in the name of a college student who's inconveniently in class when an e-mail about a closed course for next semester comes along that must be protested immediately or her mother's head will explode ... but we might. (Is there that much difference between writing and sending the darn thing oneself and dictating it for the student in question to type and send? Don't answer that.)

Yeah, it's bad, and sad, and not appropriate, and offensive, and don't do that mom, but we all do it sometimes, right? Right? We create the family equivalent of the school project that comes home looking like it was obviously made by the aide. And while we can complain about the school not letting our kids do their own work and make their own mistakes and celebrate their own sloppy best, the stakes just look so much higher when we're the ones in the hands-off position. Have you pretended to be your child lately? Have you overstepped your advocacy bounds, and would you do it again, and are you, maybe, getting ready to go do it right now? Confess in the comments.

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