I do agree. I think it’s ridiculous too that we all have to make allowances for the kids that can’t cope with what seems like the smallest of issues. I mean…
Why should I as an adult have to sit in the back of the car so she can have the front seat when the car is full?
Why should she be allowed to wear certain footwear and clothing when it’s not available?
Why should her siblings move so she can sit in certain seats?
Why should we open the car door for her when the handle is wet?
Why should we wait to start the car until she’s ready? Why should we have all the windows up in scorching heat to avoid the wind noise?
Why should we have to avoid public transport at peak times?
Why should I have to fill in forms for assistance?
Why should I have to go to school for a meeting to discuss the next chapter in her life?
Why should we buy certain food items or prepare them in a certain way?
Why should we always put the same drink in the same bottle?
Why? Because she has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition, from a team of medical professionals that states that she suffers from disabling high anxiety and sensory overload as part of it.
What seems like silly, little things to you or I are huge mountainous issues to her.
All too often we see posts on social media about anxiety and mental health. ‘Would you be there for someone in need?’, ‘It only takes a second to share this and help someone’ whilst simultaneously ignoring the needs of children with anxiety and often diminishing their need altogether.
Why should I have to write a post about her needs explaining them to people? Because you don’t get it. We see the sniggers, you know. We see you roll your eyes. We see you biting your tongue. We are not stupid. Next time you have to make allowances for what seems like our spoilt kids why not turn it around and think ‘That must be so hard for that kid, feeling so intense about things that don’t matter to most people.’ Or ‘Wow it must be really hard for that family to have to work things around their child’s needs all the time’ That would be more helpful. It really would.
I have, I’m ashamed to say, changed the way I am parenting in some situations in response. This is even more confusing and distressing for the child. It helps me during that moment, to not feel judged. It reassures me that you think, that I am a good parent. It even helps you, as it confirms your suspicions that you were right, the kid is just spoilt and can be told what to do, right? But wait what’s this? The child is then pushed into full meltdown there and then or even, holds it in, storms off, shuts down. You then leave, as its uncomfortable now and we deal with the aftermath. You will still criticise how we handled it. You know you will and we will still have to deal with it.
Here’s an idea… let’s try and be kind. Not posting online that you intend to be kind but actually #BeKind. If your thoughts are still ‘That child is so spoilt’, ‘My child would never be allowed to do that’ or ‘Why Should my child be affected by yours’ then you are not being kind. Smile at that family. Tell them it’s ok. Explain to your child that maybe that child isn’t able to deal with things like they can and suggest you don’t judge but just help and, if you are able and it’s not obvious; ask what you can do to help and mean it. Even the silly little things. After all, if it’s only a silly little thing then why does it matter to you?