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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Know the Story Before You Judge

I had a recent Facebook issue happen to me. I took a post a good friend had and made a comment, which was mistake number 1.

I wanted to share a different side of the story. Mistake number 2.

See, she went to the zoo and witnessed a mother “walking” her child on a leash and how she hated seeing that.

Since there were so many people hitting the like button and sharing nasty comments, I wanted to make the point, that they may not understand the whole story. I wanted to do this in a funny, non-threatening way by giving my own example of having to do that once in a dangerous, high traffic area with my young son wearing a small backpack and having a strap attached to it.

He was prone to breaking out of my hand grasp and was in near vicinity of race cars where he could get run over in the few bounds he would get before I caught him.

So for safety sake, I had him wear the backpack and the strap attached as an “emergency brake” in case he got away from me. He was maybe 18 months old and I was holding his hand, not "walking" him on a leash.

I haven’t had to do it since as I worked with him on staying with me and not letting go of my hand – a concept he was having trouble learning at the time.

I wanted to make my case known and to shed light on some parents who have special needs children, such as those with autism and other mental handicaps, how in high traffic areas like zoos and festivals, they sometimes have to have an “emergency brake” for their children.

I wanted to let those who were quick to make judgments and nasty remarks that there may be reasons they are not aware of and that not all parents who do that are lazy or can’t control their children.

That was mistake number 3. Thinking I was dealing with mature adults who were capable of understanding this concept.

Here are some of the comments that were made:

“….leashes are for animals, not children.”

“I agree 100%! It makes a parent look like they can't keep their child under control. I refuse to ever buy one of those things lol”

“I agree! It's cruel! There's this ancient thing called holding your kids hand it works the same only it's not cruel... children aren't dogs or pets of any sort”

“ …I did just fine without a dog collar and leash. I survived. “

And the one that got me the most angry was this one:

“Any "parent" that puts a child on a harness and leash needs to be smacked right in the mouth, its a child. the last time i seen a parent do that i asked them if they had a pooper scooper also. i swear i did!!! But its just a perfect example of a lazy parent. it like the fat lady on a scooter at the store but when she gets to the pop aisle, Jesus blessed her with the ability to walk, lol.”

Here was my response:

“Well, before you judge - ask the whole story. Some parents have special needs children who are severely autistic or mentally handicapped and for their own safety they have a brake. I don't agree to "Walking" your kids on a leash. But to assume that every child can be taught or is capable of understanding or that the parents can keep up with them if they break away from their hand is naive at best and ignorant at worst. Yes, some parents are just plain lazy or can't control their kids, but there are a few who choose safety over others opinions and for a time in their children's lives they have to do this. And anyone who were to threaten me or the parents of special needs children with a slap in the mouth or nasty comment may find one right back at them. Know the story before you judge.”

In defense of my friend, she did apologize and meant no harm and I know she didn’t. She’s a good person.

Here is what I said to her,

“I'm not mad at you. I'm just mad at people who either don't have children or don't have any idea what it's like to have a child who can break away like my son was or deal with an autistic child's behavior. I was concerned at that time in his life that he might be showing autistic tendencies because of his behavior. I remember having the discussion with his pediatrician over "leashes" and how I hated the thought of having to use one, but I also wanted to let him go to the track and see the cars in the lanes, etc - safely. He said, you have to do what's best for him and basically screw everybody else. Plus I used to watch a special needs child who I thought his mother was being cruel when she sometimes put a harness on him. After watching him for one day and having him get away from me, I understood. I've talked to some moms with kids with special needs and have heard them sobbing over all the nasty remarks made to them in public about their choices for protecting their children when those people had no idea the challenges they faced. People like them, have no right to judge other parents on their parenting ability or say nasty remarks to them. Yes, some parents are lazy, but more often than not, that child with the tether is a runner and may be mentally handicapped. I should have never made any comment on your post. I just wanted to show another side to the story many people may not be aware of because they have never known anyone with children like that, that's all.”

I wanted to make it known that I don’t agree with parents who use them because of their laziness in teaching their children properly and only support their use for those who have no choice.

Moral of the story, don’t judge other people if you don’t know them and their situation.

That and stay off FaceBook! It causes too many problems!

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