There are a lot of armchair parents out there who feel the need to berate other parents because of a perceived lack of good parenting. Now, I am not talking about neglectful bad parenting or abuse situations. I am referring to a kid throwing a fit in public or being fidgety in church. (Formerly known as “being a child”.) Why is the default to think the parents aren’t doing their job? Why is the default to sneer and whisper and even post rude comments on the internet when we see a child acting out in public? Also, I would like to officially call shenanigans on all these people who claim they raised a bunch of sweet, well-behaved children who would never dare do X-Y-Z. Sure. Your angel NEVER EVER acted out. I think time has been cruel to you and has clouded your perception of the past. Even awesome kids have their moments. Stop lying to yourself and all the other parents out there.
While we are on this subject, I have to say something. Some kids are not “normal” and just don’t yet know how to act like a tiny adult when they are out. I think this is the most difficult for kids who don’t have what my pediatrician called FLK Syndrome or “Funny Looking Kid”. Kids who have autism or issues along that vein look just like everyone else so when they act out, people look directly to the parents and roll their eyes. This child looks “normal”! Why don’t they act “normal”? They have absolutely no idea how much that hurts a parent who is trying their hardest. We know. We know what he “should” act like and sometimes we wish and pray he would just BE normal, but that isn’t in the cards for everyone. I wish armchair parents would understand that.
The following is a response to a series of comments I received in reference to my children. Some of the hurtful comments I received in person, some were posted on Facebook. For reference: I tried to take them to my husband’s choral concert. It’s a local group that has concerts in a church. They are wonderful, but let’s be clear, this is not Carnegie Hall. And I definitely paid for 4 tickets that I most certainly didn’t get my money’s worth for.
Hi. I am the mother of the children you decided to rail against on a public Facebook page.
I am sorry you thought one song was too long of an interruption at the MMC concert. It felt like forever for me, too. Not that I think you deserve an explanation but, I will let you in on a little something. My son, Robert, is not neurotypical and has more difficulties than the average child. He has sensory issues and can be a handful because he can’t always control his impulses. Sometimes he is wonderful, and he is smart as a whip, but there are those moments that are a pure struggle.
At the concert I was torn between jumping up in the middle of the song or waiting until a pause to take them out. I dread taking him out because of, well, people like you. You judge and sneer and make me feel like a horrible person for trying to take my children to see community concert. But, don’t worry. You weren’t the only one to belittle me that night. I should know better by now. My son with special needs doesn’t belong in public, right? He doesn’t look special enough for people to avoid passing judgement on him so I had better hide him away until we can figure out a way to make sure he is always angelic.
I do wish to ask you one thing: If a person is drowning in a pool, do you throw them a life jacket or do you critique the technique of their front crawl? Instead of being judgmental, perhaps you could try helping the next mother of a special needs child when you see them struggling.
I am sure you are actually a very nice person and your impassioned remarks were just a sign of how much you love watching the MMC. I love them, too. Hopefully some day we can meet, shake hands, maybe even grab a cup of coffee.
Was I a little catty there? Absolutely. But, you know what? I am drowning right now. I can’t figure Robert out and it is constant stress for me. It hurts a lot and we are trying to find a way to help him. Every day I worry about him and I could really use a kind word when he is spazzing out in the store or being over-stimulated.
But, until we can figure him out, can you please just throw me a lifesaver instead of a dirty look?