Okay, so I will admit. I used to be guilty of this as well. I used to wonder why someone did not just punish the kid. I wondered why the mom did not do more than just look sad and nearly helpless. I swore that when I had children someday, they would NEVER behave in that way. I had it all planned out! Then, I met my children.
I have to say I do feel judged at times. Actually, I feel judged a lot of the time. I feel like people are staring (they probably are, after all who could help but look at the screaming child who is yelling "ouch ouch ouch" at the top of his lungs even though he is being held gently considering he is kicking and screaming). Do I give into what ever he is wanting? No, I do not. That is part of the reason he is behaving like that. Have I ever just "given in"? No. You see, it is not just the fact that he is not getting what he wants that is causing the tantrum. It is that (which by the way makes all children mad) plus how he is interpreting his environment. The florescent lighting...it hurts his eyes and ears too because he hears the hum it makes. He hears all the beeps from the cash registers. He hears the other kids fussing a few aisles away. He can hear all the people taking. He is in sensory overdrive. The slight hold I am doing to keep him from hurting himself also hurts more than it would for most people. He is also hungry and tired, but he has lost his words in all the commotion in his head so all he knows to do now is scream. Once I get him to the car and get him strapped in and he has something to hold tight, he will be okay.
Now, put yourself in his position. What if every little thing you feel on a daily basis you felt x at least 10. What if you could actually hear all the sounds around you 100x louder than they actually are. All this is happening while you are wearing something that makes you itch, you are suddenly very hungry, and you are in a country where no one speaks your language. You can't communicate that anything is wrong. That is how I imagine he feels most of the time.
Do I punish him? Yes, he is punished when it is appropriate. I am not making excuses for him per say. I am doing my best to help him learn to live with the challenges he has been given. Doing this is the challenge I feel God has given me. These special kids like my son are still His creations. He made them, and we know God does not make mistakes. He has entrusted me with one of these special children and now it is my job to help him. In fact, he has entrusted me with two, S has her own set of problems but that is for another blog. My job is to teach him that he does have these problems, but that does not mean his problems have to have him. I am to help him learn to deal.
So the next time you see a screaming child and a tired, sad looking parent who appears to be calmly talking to the child when you would be spanking them, think of my little boy. Before you assume that the kid is out of control and the mom does not care, take a step back. I can tell you from experience she is tired. It can be exhausting dealing with any child..but even more so when the child has special needs (in his case Sensory Processing and probable Autism). I can tell you she is sad..not necessarily because she is being judged (that sometimes tends to lead to anger more than sadness) but because she is worried and sad for her child. She is sad that life has to be like this for him and worried that he will be mistreated because people do not understand. The one thing you can do to help? Be understanding..do not judge..oh and if the kid is running away from her..stand in the way so she can catch him.. :)
For all the parents who do truly understand because you have been there..here is a funny book..