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‘If my son was a dog, I’d put him down’

Mom of son with special needs defends saying she doesn’t want him.

Image: via Shutterstock

Jenny Young, mother of four kids, all of whom have ADHD, stunned people when she suggested that, of her youngest son who has special needs, “If he were my husband and behaved like that, we’d be divorced by now. And if he were a dog, I’d have him put down.” has offered further explanation behind her statement, according to the Daily Mail.

In her own defence, she says that the reasons she made the statement include:

  • Her 10-year-old son Ryan has a developmental age of two.
  • He attacks her at least once a day, including scratching, biting and kicking her, causing her to liken her situation to being a “battered woman”.
  • He tips the furniture over and soils himself.
  • He doesn’t listen to her, and she blames the collapse of the last of her three marriages on the inability of Ryan’s father to comprehend that his son was so difficult to care for.
She’d prefer to have Ryan placed permanently in a home for special needs children, but admits that he has improved a little since he started taking Ritalin last year, and since he started spending one night every fortnight at a care facility.

Jenny said that she used the example of putting a dog down because she has a member of the family who went through the traumatic experience of having their dog euthanised after they could not control its violence.

The interview is more revealing about her own state of mind, though: She complains that she can’t work, hates being stuck at home with her son constantly and never seems to have recovered from the experience of her divorces and her three older children, all of whom were also on Ritalin, but are now recovered as adults.

Her shocking statement appalled some people, who said she was lucky to have her son, but also drew sympathy from others who understood her frustration and recognized the familiar signs of caregiving fatigue suffered by those who care for an individual all the time without a break.

But isn't that simply "parenting"?

Some parents have commented that parenting is always a 24/7 job, a “selfless vocation” whether your child has special needs or not, and that she’s simply being selfish.

What is clear is that when parents face the intensity of raising a child with special needs, they themselves may need support, whether it be financial, emotional or logistical, and that many parents in this situation are left unable to express their fears and frustrations.

Do you think she’s a bad mother for her “I’d have him put down” statement?
By: Scott Dunlop

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