To stare or not to stare…
I know it can be hard not to. I do know that.
I am the mother of that child you are staring at. I am the mother of that child who is screaming, biting, yelling all while running wild around the store.
I am the mother of that child who is far… far too old to be ‘behaving’ like that.
I am the mother of that child who has just punched your child as they slowly passed by… staring.
I am the mother of that child who no one wants to play with, who no one invites anywhere, who no one offers to sit with…
I am the mother of that child you can’t take your eyes off. The loudest child, the roughest child, the most aggressive child you have ever seen.
I am the mother of that child, the one your child runs from, the child you intensionally or unintentionally encourage your child to run from.
I know it’s hard not to stare.
I also know, you don’t mean to stare.
It’s like watching a social experiment or something, I imagine;
Mother and three sons enter store. One son starts screaming as soon as he spots people. The middle son takes the baby son and pushes the buggy away, clearly embarrassed. The mother doesn’t scold screaming son, oh no, she does not. You wonder why, you go through all the things YOU would do while staring at the unfolding scene, you’re not the only one looking, so it’s ok to stop and watch.
Mother bends down to son and starts gently rocking him. Ahh you get it now, Autism!- he MUST have autism. Mother gets kicked in her stomach. She falls. Son starts crying trying to punch her while she tells him over and over ‘it’s ok’. By now there are a good few in the audience, you don’t feel uncomfortable. Maybe he is just bold, you think as he appears to be well able to keep eye contact;(because we all know the signs of Autism, so very well!) and is now screaming “I kick you. FUG OFF”, while banging his fists together…the spoiled little yolk, you stare, mouth opened.
Other sons are by the door, one in a buggy the other is asking “Are you ok mom?” there are tears in his eyes. The mother smiles, she actually smiles! She tells her son to stay right there like a good boy.
Mother looks back at ‘bold’ boy who is now a little calmer , he is still kicking her but asking for sweets! SHE GIVES HIM SWEETS! Well, that caused you to open your mouth and have a chat with the stranger beside you, who also can’t believe the mother didn’t march that ‘brat’ right out of the store. And before you know it, you have ‘tutted’, loudly.
Mother sits down and laughs with said boy as they both eat a sweet, she nods for her other two boys to join them, which they do! You cannot believe what you are seeing. And you are still staring.
I do know, that scene would be hard to ignore. It would stop me in my tracks too.
Here’s something anyone could do, if a scene like that should unfold.
Ask the other children are they ok.
My middle guy, gets so embarrassed and hates the crowds watching and whispering, he has asked me, “mom why don’t they ever help?, Why do they just stare and whisper?”.
I have told him, “they just don’t know what to do. They don’t know Ethan or us, so they are afraid to help.”—I know that isn’t always the reason for the stares – but I am not willing to tell my 10 year old that some people are just a**holes.
To stare or not to stare…
It is simple really…don’t.
Don’t stare, you are sending such bad messages to not only my children but to your children or children who are watching your reaction.
If you are too afraid to offer help…keep on walking. I beg you.
If you want to help, go see if my other boys are ok. Stay with them until I have Ethan calm. What a wonderful example you would be to your children in doing that, to any child watching you.
If the parent is alone while the child is having (what we call in our house) a meltdown, have a look around, move objects that may harm the child or parent or even you, if the child is lashing out.
If the parent had to drop bags to run after child…pick the bags up…it’s really not that hard to help.
Ask…ask the parent, quickly and loudly, “Can I help you?” — I have never ever been asked that and I do know why, but once in awhile I would love someone to ask me that, instead of literally (I kid you not!) pointing and staring.
I am a mother of that child you are staring at…
He is my baby, my boy, my life …don’t stare too long…I bite too.