Originally Posted by MamaMelis
The truth is, not all children who are difficult or unruly are special needs kids. Some just have lousy parents. Clearly you are not one of them, so I guess while your passion is marvelous, it simply does not apply to all kids, in all situations. You seem to have really personalized this question, when I think that the (general) question is much larger than just you, your child, and their specific set of needs and/or behavioral issues.
Some parents of kids who CAN behave in an appropriate manner, should encourage them more to do so. But like you said, we all have different ideas of what "appropriate" is. YOu find loud singing on a train appropriate, I don't. Neither feeling ought open either one of us up for judgement, in my opinion. Statements like this:
When you know nothing about the person to whom you are speaking, probably don't serve to warm people to your opinion or situation. It feels pretty assumptive to me....and almost the direct opposite of this statement:
which I happen to wholeheartedly agree with.
Well I can guarantee that you haven't experienced the difficult times that I have experienced. It's next to impossible to duplicate those conditions. And I disagree that it's the opposite of the other statement. In fact, I think they're complimentary. You can't imagine what I've been through. My experiences are inseparable from me. I will process x differently than you will process x because I am a different person with a different mental and physical makeup and a different lifetime set of experiences than you are. Everything that I go through is filtered through that which is ME. And my experiences include all of that. There is no experience separate from that which experiences it. Perhaps too much philosophy there...
How's this - my difficult times are mine alone and no one else's because they include that which make up me - the way I process those difficulties, the ways I cope with them, my actions and reactions - as well as my environment and other environmental factors (like other people, experiences, etc.) So, I stand by my statement.
And, if we all considered that other people are experiencing various things through the filters of their
own past experiences, mental processes, environmental conditions, and so forth, instead of believing that they have had identical experiences to our own and thus should act/ react in the ways that we believe we would act/ react, then we would be able to feel more patience, understanding, compassion, etc.
I have had trying times that you can only imagine. So, start imagining. Take a look at me with my child who isn't following directions, won't stop touching everything, won't sit still, is being loud and annoying and repeating words and the laughing, and is trying to get out of my grasp so he can run around and throw things. You can judge me as a bad mother and my child as a brat. Or you can realize that you don't know my situation. Would it make you feel better to glare at me? Or to smile at me? To mutter about unruly children and their useless parents? Or to ask if there's anything you can do to help?
Not all kids have special needs. Not all parents have special needs. Some kids are lousy. Some parents are lousy. Some kids are just having a tough time. Some parents are just having a tough time. I am very aware that the question is larger than my specific circumstances. Are you aware that it's larger than yours? If I am a lousy parent with a lousy child, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to change that? Is there anything that you can do? Do you think that sitting in judgment changes that situation at all? Do you honestly believe that a comment about my uselessness as a parent is going to magically transform me into a better parent? Do you think that dissing me to others on an internet forum would make my child behave in a more appropriate manner?
Me talking about my special needs child wasn't about me trying to say that all situations are like mine. It was about me trying to show that you can't tell when they're not. If I didn't know that my child had special needs until he was older, then even your closest friends may have children with special needs that none of you are aware of. Certainly it's possible that the unruly kids you see in public have special needs. Maybe they're diagnosed, maybe not. Maybe their parents are trying to parent them but haven't figured out how to effectively discipline them yet (it's not as easy as you might think.) Or maybe those unruly kids don't have special needs. Maybe they're just brats and their parents are useless. Or maybe everyone's tired and emotionally drained because of a recent loss - death, divorce, etc. You're on the outside, deciding what's on the inside, but you can't see. So, does it serve anyone to decide that what you see is what you get, and it's just that simple? Does it help anyone to sit in judgment? Or would it be more helpful to decide that you don't know the whole story, you probably will never know the whole story, and even if it's a matter of the whole family being spoiled brats, it won't do any good to be hurtful or cruel or judgmental about it?
I don't feel good when I'm judging people as less worthy than I. And that's what it comes down to - judging them as bad parents or bad kids because they're not meeting my superior expectations of parents and kids. I don't want to feel superior. I feel much better when I'm supportive, caring, understanding, patient, tolerant. I feel better when I offer help, or even just a smile. I know that, when I'm expecting a roomful of people to glare at me because of my child's behavior or me losing my temper, I feel more tense and more upset. And when I look up to see a smile, an understanding look, or get an offer of help or commiseration, I'm more able to calm down and try again to deal with the situation.
Sometimes, it takes someone thinking, "This could be a special needs child, so I shouldn't judge" in order to stop that automatic judgment. So, I share my story. Maybe people will practice not judging, and instead being supportive, because they get into the habit of assuming special needs
or bad day
or whatever instead of assuming brat
or bad parents
. If that's what it takes, so be it. For others, it will only take consideration of the fact that judging others as being "less than" doesn't help make the world a better place. Do something that does.