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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
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When To Tell

June 2012

You have been sending me questions, but today I have a question for you: if there is something wrong with your child, when, if ever, is the right time to tell your child? I am working with two families who both have children diagnosed with Asperger’s. Asperger’s is basically high functioning autism. People with this diagnosis can make it in the world but will struggle with social cues and relationships. One family has a school age child; the other has a college age child.

Would you tell these children? Is it better to tell them when they are young? Would you wait until they are older? Married? Have kids of their own? What would be your fears if you were to tell your child? There are many schools of thought of the best way to deal with this issue. I, however, believe that we do not have the right to keep information from someone, especially if that information is about them! It is, obviously, crucial that you tell them in an age appropriate way.

If we tell our children with ideas and concepts that they can understand, you may find that the child is actually relieved. Kids often know that they are different, that they are not like the other kids. Being able to understand why, what is going on, may actually make them feel better! Especially if you have a college age child, that child has every right to know what is going on.

But these are hard decisions. I am interested to know your thoughts about this! Please respond and we may be able to further discuss this in my next column!

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