Originally Posted by lotusdebi
I agreed with other posts in this thread, but picked this one to quote because of the anger behind it. I'm feeling that same anger.
My oldest child has autism and sensory issues. I did not know that when he was an infant and a toddler. I was severely sleep-deprived (often to the point of psychosis) for the first few YEARS of his life because the child never slept. He cried, arched his back, was never comfortable, couldn't stay still, was a difficult nurser, and generally made my life a living hell. There was no such thing as an easy outing with him. But, we had to get out of the house. I had to get out of the house simply so I wouldn't lose my mind and kill us all some days.
If you have a child who has the occasional tantrum due to teething or tiredness or not getting what he wants, then good for you. My second is like that. It's incredibly easy raising a kid like that. You can come back to the store another day. You can hand the kid over to your partner. You know it's a temporary situation.
But if you have a child like my eldest, whose behaviors made no sense, who drove you to the point of madness on a constant basis, who never slept and never seemed to be happy except when doing dangerous things... then maybe you can understand the frustration that many of us on this thread are feeling at the judgmental posts about this couple.
Maybe the child described in the OP doesn't have special needs. Maybe the parents had other options. But, maybe things aren't always as they seem, and your judgment towards them is truly unacceptable and harmful.
I was blamed for my eldest child's behaviors. For years, I heard about how I was such a bad parent, how I should discipline him more, how I was screwing up so badly. I lost faith in myself. I am still plagued with self-doubt years later, even though I know now that all those judgmental people were wrong. Those words and attitudes brought significant harm to me and my relationship with my child. I will not forgive those who chose to judge rather than show compassion and understanding. I will sit in judgment of all of you who glare and shake your heads and mumble cruel things about other parents who deserve more care and kindness. You judge me when you judge those other parents who aren't performing to your standards. You judge me when you determine that you know better how to deal with a child that you don't even know. You judge me when you consider yourselves superior because your child never acts in such a manner, but if he did, you know just how you'd deal with it. You judge me. So, I sit here and virtually glare at you in return. I shake my head at your cruelty and thoughtlessness. I mumble about your lack of compassion and understanding. And I promise myself to be extra kind to the next parents I encounter whose heads are spinning and hands are full. Because I'd rather live in a world where we genuinely care about each other than one in which we hurt each other in order to feel better about ourselves.
^This. (and mama....you are a warrior,
...I'm always glad to meet mamas like you.)
I want to say, that the above post is what I meant, when I said that I always try to give an encouraging smile and understanding to parents in this position...because you REALLY DON'T know what the true story is.
Sometimes I get mad, just burned up....because it's obvious the parent thinks it's funny, doesn't care..whatever...but then I think "What if this woman is REALLY embarassed and THAT is why she's laughing it off?" - and I jsut mind my own business.
The bottom line is...it doesn't really matter what the situation was...it doesn't really matter what the hidden reasons or non-reasons were behind this annoyance to other shoppers....kindness, it what really matters.
Kindness gets you a long way, I've learned. Kindness, in the face of a situation where you really don't even HAVE to be kind...where most people would say that you have a right to be UNKIND...gets you even further, at least in my book.
If you can't be understanding with people like this, on the off chance that there is a real, legit reason for their behavior....at least pity them, for their apparent lack of social awareness, which would cause any of us, if we could, to take a crying kid outside.
We are parents here. Everyone remembers the preparent days, where you saw a kid melt down in the store and thought "not my kids, when I have kids they will not behave like that" - then you have kids and all sorts of things you didn't understand, judged, etc are thrown in your face and sometimes you have to laugh at ever having judged those parents. And you can see, in the faces of people with no kids, who don't get it...those same judgements and you have to laugh it off, because you think to yourself "well, you don't have kids, those of us with kids, get it" - so...BE that. Be the "those of us with kids" and recognize that sometimes it's not clear to everyone else what's going on. Trust that what your kids are capable of doing to you (making you look like a complete jerk in public) other peoples kids are capable of doing to them.
Kindness can never be wasted. Best case scenario...you give a small boost of confidence to a mama who feels like running out into traffic over what her kid is doing and is so embarassed and just wants to sink into the floor....WORST case scenario...the mama is really ebing a jerk and just doesn't care...and YOU practiced tolerance and put POSITIVE vibes out in to the world anyway!
How can you lose, when you choose kindness, compassion and accept that, as a mere mortal human...you CAN'T see all reasons for all things??