The other day, I was talking about judgment on Twitter. It became a discussion with numerous parents because it’s something that’s still a problem, even in 2019. I’ve written about that here and talked about it on my podcast. I was touched because everyone shared their personal and often ongoing experiences with being judged by people. While there’s comfort in knowing that I’m not alone, it’s heartbreaking to see others dealing with the same thing. This ultimately inspired me to write Broken Plates.
I’ve talked about this ad nauseum over the years and rather than reinvent the wheel, think of this as a refresher course on why we shouldn’t judge autism/special needs parents.
First of all, every time I talk about this, someone inevitably chimes in that I put myself out there, so what do I expect. Let’s just head that off at the pass. Yes, I’m in a slightly different situation because I’m a public figure of sorts. I understand that putting myself out there, opens me up to judgment, ridicule, and a host of other unpleasantness. At the same time, just because I’m putting myself out there, doesn’t give anyone the right to cast judgment. While I have developed thicker skin over the years, it still sucks.
Unfortunately, this also happens to almost every single Autism/Special Needs parent at one point in time and often without provocation.
One of the things that are really important to understand about human nature is that we are hardwired to judge. In some situations, I think judgment is crucial to our survival.
Judgment can become a problem, however, when we judge what we don’t understand. Limited information and very little, if any, first-hand knowledge leads to inaccurate assumptions.
Autism parents frequently find themselves on the receiving end of judgment. Often times, people aren’t shy about pointing out what they think, even when they haven’t been asked. We hear things about our kids all the time. Among the most common situations is when we’re out in public and our child with Autism has a meltdown. People make comments about how we’re terrible parents or our child is a spoiled brat.
We hear things like that child needs a butt whooping or I’d never let my child act like that in public. My personal favorite is when I’m told by someone that I shouldn’t bring a child like that out in public. It’s honestly pretty awful at times.
Nevermind that neither bad parenting nor a spoiled child is at fault and in fact, the child in question is suffering.
I’ve had that happen in one form or another, countless times over the years and it sucks every single time.
Another common situation is when parents are judged based on how well we keep up with the house, yard, bills, and anything else along those lines.