Please Think Before You Stare!

Today was a relatively good day to start off with. The children weren’t overly bad this morning, my hospital appointment went well, ran a few errands and then the heaven’s opened as I collected J and K from school and things just seemed to go down hill from there.

We had to pop in to town to pick up J’s new glasses (he snapped his other pair clean in half). I got cut up by another car trying to push in as they decided to get in the left hand turn only lane as they couldn’t be bothered to wait in the queue like everyone else, so I wasn’t in the best of moods anyway. I had calmed down by the time we parked and the kids were behaving, so I thought this should be easy. How wrong was I??

We went to get J’s glasses sorted, and whilst in there I booked K’s eye appointment as she is due a check up. I then needed to just quickly run to Boots to pick up a few things and as J has lost his toothbrush, yet again, had to buy a new one.

I decided to let the children decide which toothbrushes they want, and they both picked little electric ones. I also let J select a new toothpaste as he is very fussy. At this point he had seen a toy car he wanted and I had told him he couldn’t have it, that I wasn’t just going to buy him a toy because he wanted it and that it had to be earned. Well, this went down like a lead balloon. I decided to go and pay and get out of the shop pronto. Whilst I was scanning in my items (only the self service was working!), J came over with toy car in hand crying that he wanted it. Again, I told him he couldn’t, so instead he tried to swipe it through the checkout himself. I managed to pay for the bits I had got, and remove the car from his grasp.

All the time, he was screaming and crying and people were staring at me like I was the worse mother in the world and couldn’t handle her child. As soon as I removed the toy from his grasp he kicked off more. He jumped on my back, punched me then kicked me in the leg. I had to try to leave the shop, pushing the pushchair with A in and have him hanging off me hitting me at the same time. We got outside and I pulled him off my back and walked off.

I did the only thing I can do when he kicks off. I call P for reassurance. Whilst talking to P, J decided that he was going to start kicking the pushchair and the concrete post. Cue stares from everyone walking past, some even glancing back to take a look at the nearly 7-year-old boy throwing a tantrum any toddler would be proud of.

I wanted to die inside. I wanted the ground to swallow me up right there and then. Do you know how embarrassing it is when your child throws a full on tantrum out in public? I mean, toddlers yeah, you accept that that’s what they do, they tantrum and people can sympathise with you. But do you realise how hard it is for a mother to have strangers stare at her whilst her school age child is throwing a tantrum.

You see, even though he doesn’t look it, J is classed as Special Needs and Disabled. To everyone else he looks like he is just a typical boy. There is nothing physically wrong with him. Unfortunately it is all brain related and this is horrid for us as parents. If he looked disabled then perhaps people could understand a bit more and wouldn’t stare. Instead they just think we are unable to control our rowdy child, and with me being pregnant with our 4th baby, it makes me think they are judging me.

The reason for this post, is that I wanted to make you stop and think. Next time you witness and older child having a tantrum in town, please don’t stare at them or the parents. You do not know if that child has underlying issues. It is hard enough for the parent to watch it, they don’t need strangers standing and watching their child tantrum too. Have a little compassion for the ragged looking mum. Just because a child doesn’t look disabled, doesn’t mean they aren’t!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. innocentcharmer-Kara (@innocentcharmer)
    Jul 11, 2012 @ 22:14:48

    You are a fantastic mum, such a well written post, I am sick of the staring, just come up and say what you are feeling or ask is my moto. I feel for you, I am you, although we don’t have the tantrums as he just can’t but you should see peoples faces when he screams or talks.
    It’s hard to say just ignore, I certainly always can’t but never doubt you are an amazing mama, I would like to see any of those people who stare cope xxx

  2. Myla
    Jul 11, 2012 @ 23:56:57

    Rachel that is so true what your saying just because children with ASD and or ADHD, don’t always look physically different, their brains have developed different.

    And being young they can’t always understand, or able to control their emotions.

    So it looks to others, that we don’t have control of our children.

    I remember when M was younger he is now 14. Had a mega tantrum during a busy christmas shopping centre and I just moved away slightly whilst he was laying on the floor screaming, I could still see him and he can still me. This older lady standing close to me started commenting to her friend ” that childs parents don’t have any control, how embarrasing”

    I couldn’t help myself and said I know its shocking.
    Just after M reakising he wasn’t getting my attention stopped, got up and came running over to me mummy grabbing my leg.
    The lady didn’t know where to look, as I walked away.

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