The other day I was enjoying a lovely afternoon out with my kiddo. We were minding our own business, enjoying ourselves. Suddenly an older woman thought it was ok to approach my child, and tell him what he should or shouldn’t be doing.
I’m sure every mom goes on the defensive when it comes to their littles. I get super defensive because Karter being on the spectrum isn’t able to always articulate what has happened or his feelings. Or on the flip side he can’t handle his feelings and goes into overload. It hurts me, so I do my best to protect him from people like this lady.
With this particular incident we were at a public park with wild animals, there were signs up with suggested rules however no one follows them but goes to this park at their own risk. Anyway Karter and I (and some other people) were walking along the dirt path and came across some turkeys. Karter is afraid, I went a little closer to them. But this older woman and her family were very close and trying to feed the turkeys. Karter made the joke that he should run up and scare the turkeys. He was 100% kidding, the kid loves animals. He wants nothing more than to be a zoo keeper, has since he could speak.
Anyway she went up to Karter, basically yelling really “oh no don’t do that!! this is a nature preserve stay on the path, be respectful of the animals and follow the rules!!”
I looked at Karter immediately and my heart broke, he shut right down. Looked like he wanted to just curl up in a ball and cry. All he could muster up to say is “mom can we leave now”. We weren’t even done walking the path and this woman just ruined our entire experience.
My sister and I spoke up, we asked her to speak to us privately next time. That if she had an issue with us, or Karter to speak to us. Not the six year old child. She started saying that she has an autistic nephew and knows how to speak to those children.
Not once did I mention that my son is autistic, nor should it matter. I try to do this balancing act of not coddling his autism but also trying to recognize things are essentially different for him. It’s something I’m still trying to learn.
No stranger should to go up to a child and speak to them in such a way.
If Karter was harming someone else or something, and I’m standing there bring it up to me. Bring it to my attention, don’t walk up to my child and proceed to parent him. There are so many things strangers do not know, and it really upset me and Karter as to what this lady did.
My sister and I pulled Karter aside, and we explained to him that she was in the wrong, and that technically if we were all following the signs all of us including that woman were not following the rules. I also told him that we respect the area and love going, so I didn’t want for that lady to ruin it for him. Or ruin his entire day, that sometimes people have opinions and feelings that are very different from our own but we need to let them say their piece and move on.
Bottom line, please don’t even speak up to someones child. Pull the parent aside and speak to them. My heart broke looking at Karters expression in that moment. I wish I had a giant shield to protect him from all the assholes. Sorry I tried to refrain from name calling but it was super uncalled for the way this woman went about things. I even waited a few days to sort my feelings out.
Karter hasn’t brought it up again, so I am hoping it didn’t bother him too much.
What do you do when someone attempts to parent your child without your consent?