I don’t know about you or your family, but ours has been asked some interesting questions. We’ve had our fair share of stares over the years. I have not always handled it in a kind or nice way.
I have gotten mad, hurt, angry, and have walked away with tears in my eyes. There have been times when people have stared at my son and I have wanted to scream, “He is a person with real feelings!” But instead, I quickly gather what I needed and leave. I wish I had the perfect thing to say to help others understand but I do not.
There was one instance that I hope I handled it well and made my son a human in another’s eyes. When my son, Draven, joined our family, he was 16 months old. He could barely crawl. His head was quite large, and he could not hold it up for more than a few minutes.
When we went to the store, he was either in a carrier, held, or in a stroller. On one trip, a little girl was staring at us and her mom was trying to get her to stop. I was not used to the stares at first. I was getting mad.
But then I decided I would address it. I smiled and said hi to the little girl who was around 9 or 10. I took Draven’s hand and waved it at her and she stepped closer to us. She asked if he was okay.
I explained to her that his body did have some challenges. But also that he loved to have people talk to him and that he was a very happy little boy. She smiled at him and talked and played with him for a few minutes then told us bye and walked off with her mother. I hope that in some way she saw him not as a spectacle but just like any other kid.
I wish I could handle every situation with forethought and a gentle reply. But that does not always happen. There was an instance when our whole family was at the store. One of our children is of a different ethnicity than my husband and me.
A man walked up to us and said, “It is so awesome that you adopted your child and she is extremely lucky.” I looked at the man blankly with my mouth open thinking, did he just say that in front of my kids? I looked at him and said, “Well, if you must know, I had an affair and my husband found it in his heart to forgive. But thanks for bringing it up.” He quickly turned and left.
I probably should have felt bad, but my husband and I laughed and walked away.
I understand that people may have questions or are curious. I just wish they could stop and think for a moment how they would feel if they were the parent or the child.
Here are 2 great informational pages on handling rude comments from strangers and other tips and ideas on what to do when your child’s behavior is misunderstood by others.