I think almost all of us have been in a situation with our children when they loudly announced that someone in their line of sight looked different, but I have found there is a definite difference between kids who are just curious (which never bothers me) and kids who are hurtful. I have also found there is a big difference in the way parents handle these situations. I have been surprised that most times parents just choose to ignore an offensive remark as if it was never said (out of embarrassment perhaps?), but in my mind that teaches the child nothing. Others have been so rude as to agree with their child that my son has a “funny arm”, and I am sure you know my feeling on that! I always struggle with whether it is my job to educate someone else’s kid, but I have to admit to reaching a point where I often do for my own child’s sake. Now if someone says “what a freaky arm”, I count to three to give the parent of the child a chance to intervene, but if they don’t….then I step in. Normally I will just say, “that was very unkind”, and then explain that TJ can do everything with one hand. It honestly is the more rare occasion that a parent will say “I am so sorry” and then turn to their child and explain that someone missing a hand is perfectly okay.
How do you think these situations should be handled? As a parent, do you take a proactive approach with your kids to let them know that children born with special needs are just kids? How have you handled it if your own child has said something unkind? If you are the parent of a child who is teased or singled out frequently, how do you manage rude comments in public? I would love to know your thoughts.
Love Without Boundaries Foundation