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Saturday, October 2, 2010

When We See Children Acting Up in Public, Do We Judge?

When you see a child acting up in public are you quick to judge? Do you judge the parents for raising an unruly, selfish child? I used to.

I don’t so much anymore and it isn’t all just because I now have a child who is a toddler and I am entering into my own danger zone of public tantrums. It is more because I have read a story about a little boy with autism and how proud his mother was when they had a whole day out in public without much incident. They ran what appeared to be ordinary errands, completed ordinary tasks and went ordinary places. They accomplished something most of us do every day and this mother was so excited about her son’s accomplishments that she decided to share their day in a post.

I felt happy for her and sad for her as well as a little guilt all at the same time as I read about their long day. Things I take for granted were made important and my prejudice and misunderstanding melted away as I read her words.

When we see other children’s odd behaviors or children acting out we jump to conclusions about why they are behaving that way. We judge without knowing the real reason that public display of behavior is taking a turn for the worse. We judge harshly and unfairly. Rarely do most of us ever get a glimpse into the world of autism and other behavior issues. We have no idea what those children and their parents have to go through just to get out the door.

I now have a better appreciation for what these parents and their children have accomplished and I hope I will not judge too harshly the next time I see a mom struggling with her child’s misbehavior. Even if that child may not have autism, I may not know the whole story and therefore should never judge.

I only hope that the next mom will extend that same courtesy to me when it’s my turn to handle the public meltdowns my son will have.

You can read her story here: I Wonder If You Can Really See My Son

~The World’s Best Children’s Supplements

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