Never Give Up On Your Child

Child angry to her mother and pointing her finger to make her mother shut up

Harriet Stowe once said, “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” This quote makes me think about the parents I’ve worked with in my years of teaching. Most of them have struggled with challenges and barriers, especially those who have children with special needs. Most of those parents overcame obstacles and kept their heads up high. They were fighters, great advocates for their children. However, there was one parent who DID give up, and it broke my heart.

This particular parent was the mother of one of my favorite students who I had been teaching for several years. One morning, I awoke to find an email from this parent which was by no means unusual since communication has always been my number one priority. However, this particular email forever changed the course of my life.

The email started with her explaining to me how horrible her weekend was, her son became extremely violent and ended up being hospitalized for two nights after he “lost control and broke everything in her house.” She told me that she didn’t feel safe and couldn’t help him any longer. After reading the email, I felt sick to my stomach! Could this really be happening? I immediately picked up the phone and called her.

Once she answered, she proceeded to explain everything in detail. Her son who has ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and ODD (Oppositional defiant disorder) was refusing to take his medications. He had been off his meds for quite some time. She thought maybe 3 or 4 weeks; she wasn’t sure. When she handed him the medications, he would throw them across the room or pretend to take them and later spit them out and flush them down the toilet. Once this started happening, his behaviors became so extreme that it even got to the point where he was punching her and kicking holes in walls. She was “fed up” and decided to find a “new place for him to live.” She couldn’t take care of him any longer; she had lost all hope and control of her son. I remember her saying, “I can’t take this any longer, I don’t care anymore, he is so out of control and I can’t have him living in my house… I’m done.

As I listened to her, I started thinking to myself how could a mother just give up on her child? Yes, he has challenges and yes it’s difficult to care for someone who becomes physically aggressive, but give up? My heart was racing, my head was throbbing, I didn’t know what to say or do, so I just continued to listen. I asked her if she had other options like a family member that could help or perhaps a respite care worker who could step in a give her a break. She said no and told me that her son was placed in a group home already and wasn’t coming home… EVER.

Why had I never heard of this before? He seemed fine, even great in the classroom. Mom never mentioned anything to me about this snowballing issue. I was truly devastated.

After a few minutes, I said goodbye and hung up the phone. Later that morning, I waited to see if her son would walk through the door so I could sit down and talk with him, maybe help sort this out! I wanted to help, or at least be there for him. He never arrived, never came back to school.

Later that week I found out that he was placed in a group home on the other side of town, which was fifty miles away. He started attending a new school that was closer to his new “home.” I never had a chance to say goodbye, his classmates would always ask about him, and all I could say is that he moved. I never found out what happened to him; his mom never returned my phone calls or emails.

Parenting can be extremely tough, sometimes you feel like you’re on an island, all alone. In reality, there are people out there that WILL help… teachers, family members and even strangers. There are local peer groups, online peer groups and professional help groups.

It’s experiences like this that led me to start We are creating a catalyst for change, a place where parents of children with special needs can go and receive guidance from people who have been through their current situation before. I’ve witnessed similar challenging situations time and time again over the past decade, trust me when I say this… your situation has happened to someone before you, seek guidance from these folks, most are more than willing to help.

Never give up on your child. Be strong, be an advocate and take a break if you need one but don’t walk away.

What are your thoughts? Are there times you’ve been overwhelmed? What did you do? Please share in the comments below.

-Suzie Dalien M.Ed.


Picture of Luke Dalien

Luke Dalien

Author Luke Dalien has spent his life dedicated to helping others break the chains of normal so that they may live fulfilled lives. When he’s not busy creating books aimed to bring a smile to the faces of children, he and his amazing wife, Suzie, work tirelessly on their joint passion; helping children with special needs reach their excellence. Together, they founded an online tutoring and resource company, Poetry, which had been a personal endeavor of Luke’s for the better part of two decades, was mainly reserved for his beautiful wife, and their two amazing children, Lily and Alex. With several “subtle nudges” from his family, Luke finally decided to share his true passion in creativity with the world through his first children’s book series, “The Adventures Of The Silly Little Beaver."


  1. Hello from Austin tx ,
    I’ve been trying to find help for my 17 year old but not able to afford the Ave low budget fees of $125 ,anhour .
    Wondering if you know any one who does sliding scale ?

    • JP… Absolutely! An email was sent by our Director Of Tutoring Services, Diana, to find out more specifics regarding your situation. Please check your inbox. Thank you so much for reaching out JP!

  2. I agree that a parent can never give up or stop believing in their child as change can always happen. I’ve had my own parenting struggles with my son and I just keep hacking away at it. However, I do believe that parents have a right to take care of themselves too. If violence enters the picture, then it may be time for a more dramatic change. In the situation above, I would say a temporary stay elsewhere (respite, short term group home, etc) was merited, but I do agree it is then best to bring him back home after a few weeks to give him a second chance. Sometimes kids test their parents to see how much they can do before a parent gives up – find the limit. The best a parent can do is show a child there is no limit. A message that says, “no matter what, I’m there” even if it means a break is needed for awhile. Home always remains home – a parents’ love always remains present.

  3. I don’t believe that she is truly giving up. She may just realize that she doesn’t have what her child needs. I had to make this same difficult decision. It is the hardest decision any parent will ever have to make. It takes strength and courage to face that as a parent, I didn’t have what my child needed. As a parent I want to give my child the world. The world isn’t what my child needed. My child needed someone with not only emotional strength, but physical strength. I have several medical issues. My doctor told me my physical and mental health could not take anymore. I also do not want my child to end up with a miserable life of failures or even worse, prison or death. I had to love my child enough to know that she needed more than I could give her. I cry everyday. I miss my child every second of every minute of every hour. I know she needs so much more that what I was and could give her. Sometimes emotions make us say things in a way that don’t truly express what we are trying to say. It comes from the mind and not the heart. I don’t think this mother gave up because I know I haven’t and never will.

  4. This whole story reeked of “better than thou” sentiment. Just like parents have no right to terrorize thier kids, kids have no right to terrorize their parents. I’m sorry you worried over him, but also one would assume mom made this choice because he broke her. Everyone wants to talk about how “the child didn’t deserve that” and the educators “just can’t believe it”, but no one ever acknowledges the Moms heartbreak. You don’t think Mom had a moment when she realized all her hopes and dreams for her kid will never come to fruition? Moms pain is valid too.

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