Oh, the judgment…redux

This afternoon I needed to mail some packages, so Carter and I stopped at the post office after I picked him up from school. I saw the line of over 20 people and groaned, but what could I do? Those packages were full of eBay auction items and they had to be mailed. We got in that line and Carter was busy acting like Carter: windmilling his arms, making his noises, spinning. His usual dervish thing. This, I am very used to, and I’m also so accustomed to the exasperated sighs, dirty looks, and whispered comments that I’ve become adept at (mostly) ignoring them. Besides, I don’t have time to pay attention to people’s reactions; I’m too busy protecting those poor, put-upon people. I don’t even try to control Carter’s behavior because I know from hard experience that it won’t work. What I can do, though, is make sure that he has the space to move in the ways that he needs to without punching anyone in the knees or knocking down racks, displays, and small children.

And then the man in line behind me spoke up. “You kid is out of control.”

“Yeah, well, there’s a neurological cause for that behavior,” I said, and I could feel my blood pressure rise just a wee bit.

Louder now, he said, “Even if he’s a brain-damaged brat, he’s still a brat.”

Pause for a breath. Or six…

By that time, almost everyone in line was watching the man and me, including Carter. Believe me when I tell you that it took every bit of will in every cell of my body, plus the presence of my emotionally fragile boy, to respond with anything other than physical violence. I hissed through my teeth, “You have no idea what you are talking about.” I turned to face the front of the line and pulled Carter close to me. We finished our business and didn’t hear another word from the man.

There is no shortage of judgment for modern parents, any parents. But for us parents of behaviorally and emotionally different children? Watch out, back up, and get out of the way because it’s coming, and sometimes it comes big. Oh, my lovely friends whose kids have behavioral and/or emotional differences, can I hear an amen?!?

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25 thoughts on “Oh, the judgment…redux”

  1. O-M-G! I cannot believe that! You are an extremely strong mother! I could feel my blood start to bubble just reading this. I’m not sure I could of kept as calm as you. Bravo to you and that guy should be kicked in the teeth!

  2. Unbelievable! While my only kid, (the one with 4 legs and a tail) gets a little out of hand now and then; if anyone ever dare say something I’d probably not be as subtle as you were. Amen Sister! Some people in this world are just rude and need to be educated, apparently this charming guy (not) should sign up for it! Hope your day goes better, you have all of our support 🙂

  3. ok, I don’t know what I would have done but it might have been this. Keep in mind that I don’t mind being an ass on a pedestal. Somewhat loudly: “Excuse me folks, my son was born with a mental disorder and this man here just called him a brat. Please clap if you support moms who work really hard to help their disabled children” What a jerk.

  4. Un f-ing believable. (Pardon my french)

    I have never understood what it is about being a parent that makes the general public feel that they can dole out free unsolicited advice. And what makes those same advice-givers think they know everything there is to know about your situation.

    Whenever I’m asked probing questions, I usually just burst into tears, then think of something good to say several hours later.

  5. There is a HUGE difference between a kid who has actual behavioral issues that go beyond “poor parenting.” And honestly, usually it’s clear a parent who’s trying to cope with a kid like Carter and a kid who’s an out of control brat.

    I can’t imagine the control that took for you. I don’t know if I would have been that calm in the face of that kind of rude behavior.

  6. amen sista! and holy crap! i can’t believe someone said that out loud. i mean, it’s one thing to think it. i’m sure i have before my dervish entered my life. but geez…to say it out loud really takes a jacka$$. (IMHO)

  7. I cannot tell you how proud I am that you didn’t knock the hell out of that idiot. My first inclination would have been to say, “well, at least we know why Carter has issues, what is your fucking excuse?”. What an asshat. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to shield both you and Carter and choke that man the hell out. :).

  8. The thing about all these great responses to this guy is that Carter is listening too. Adrienne doesn’t have the freedom to go into freakout mode; she has to swallow it so she can provide an AMAZING example of grace under pressure to her son. Adrienne, I don’t even know you, but I am so proud of you.

  9. There are no words for that man. Except Asshat. And maybe also Douchecanoe. But really, what has gone wrog with our society that poeple feel it’s ok to call a kid a brat to his (and his mother’s) face? When adults do things like that, it makes it acceptable in the minds of children and teens. And then children and teens think it’s ok to tease, belittle and bully others. And before you know it bullying is epidemic and kids are killing themselves over it. This sort of behavior is not ok and we should all feel justified in saying to an ass like this “You may be annoyed and that is your right but you do not have the right to make me or my child feel bad because of your reaction to a situation. From now on, please mind your manners.”

  10. Thanks, everyone! It’s so helpful to read all these comments. Rebekah, I couldn’t agree more; if we want to live in a world where people treat each other decently, then we might want to try treating each other decently.

    Also, one thing that never ceases to amaze me is the places where people expect to have peace and quiet. I mean, I’m totally in agreement when it comes to nice restaurants and other places that are meant to be quiet and peaceful, but the post office? Did the guy go there to relax or something?

    Joyce, I appreciate your input. I’m not a person who’s afraid of confrontation, but more than anything, Carter needs to see me in control and know that I’ll stand between him and the world and filter out the things that will hurt him as much as possible. I can’t do that when (and it is when, not if) I get out of control myself.

    Also (and somehow this is the saddest part) for us SN parents, it’s just not that shocking. I mean, yes, I was furious. While these out-loud comments have only happened to us a handful of times, we get judged everywhere, and we can tell. The looks, the tsk tsk and sighing sounds, the head shaking, it happens all the time.

    And finally, my husband gave me a perfect response for these sorts of situations. Just a simple sentence: “You shouldn’t be so quick to judge.” I’m making that my go-to statement when this happens from now on.

  11. I love the “you shouldn’t be so quick to judge” answer!!! Kudos to your husband.

    As an ex-preschool teacher, when pressed by obnoxious adults I try to remember to talk to them the same way I would talk to a pre-schooler, something along the lines of, “in case you don’t realize it, the words you are using are hurtful, and it would be better to keep such thoughts to yourself unless you can find a way to say them that is constructive and not mean” This generally confuses people and causes them to stop whatever they are doing. But I like your husband’s answer better.


  12. Adrienne, A little business card with your blog address on it to hand out and invite him to find out about other people’s lives might be an idea.
    | I invite you to walk in my virtual shoes |
    | https://www.nopointsforstyle.com |

    You’ll find a better phrase, but taking action helps defuse (I find).

    Love, Ant Judy

  13. **Huggles!** You’re not alone now! I respect where your journey and the lessons you shared. The pros MUST do something where they have lacked. ALL CHILDREN ARE WORTHY!!! I am champion you that you’ve gotten some resolution from the past and I hope that there is more to come! *smiles* Dr. Gina M.-S. SistahMentalHealth.com and The Ari | af | ya Universe

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