The other day, I was talking about judgment on Twitter and it became a discussion with numerous parents because it’s something that’s still a problem, even in 2019. Everyone shared their personal and often ongoing experiences with being judged by people and while there’s comfort in knowing that I’m not alone, it’s heartbreaking to see that so many parents are dealing with the same thing.
I’ve talked about this at 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, everytime 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 by putting myself out there, I’m opening myself 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’s 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.
Where judgment can become a problem, however, is when we judge what we don’t understand, with limited information and very little, if any, first hand knowledge of the circumstances.
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 are 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.