Those of you that have a child with Special Needs knows exactly what I speak of.
It can be judgment from a stranger (most usual form). Or from a friend. Judgment can happen even with families.
Judgment is defined as… (via dictionaryreference.com)
an act or instance of judging.
the ability to judge, make a decision
, or form
an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion: a man of sound
the demonstration or exercise of such ability or capacity: The major was decorated for the judgment he showed under fire.
the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion, as from circumstances presented to the mind: Our judgment as to the cause of his failure must rest on the evidence.
the opinion formed: He regretted his hasty judgment.
The type of judgment that we are talking about today is within the definition of choice numbers ONE, and of FOUR.
Although, the basis of judgment more often than not, is primarily upon choice number ONE.
Because most “outsiders” will not know (even within the family circle) TRULY what life is like for our children, or for us as their parents and their caregivers.
My son, even at almost eleven years old, is a “safety risk”. He has no “I better be certain it is safe” button. He has a “‘wow, that’s cool and I want to go to it’ button”. He can only see what he wants. Not what it takes to get it. Including safety. I worry every time he wants to walk to school (which is not even five minutes from my home). Mainly because the section of road we live on is high-traffic early in the morning. But I have to let him be independent. If I see him crossing the street in the wrong manner, then after school, when he gets home (via the bus), we have (yet another) talk about safety when crossing the street.
I have had him walking with us in the mall, and he suddenly is far back behind, because something caught his eye and he ran off to check it out.
Because of things like that, and because of an incident at a huge Theme Park, over in the water area, I for a good while used harnesses on my child. I never have had to do so with the two girls. But then again, they don’t have the problems that he does, and they are really good about listening, staying close and asking to check something out or to go somewhere.
The times that I have used the harness, be it a wrist one, or one that straps around the chest and over the head, I have gotten “the look” of disgust and judgment. And I say, KEEP ON JUDGING! You have no idea about my child. You don’t know the dangers he can get in to. You have no clue as to how fast he can honestly be.
To judge ANY parent, based solely on what you see, and nothing on what is known (which in most cases you don’t due to not knowing the people at all), to me is demeaning and rude. And it’s something that sadly, millions of us mothers and fathers must endure every single day. Because people just don’t understand. Some don’t WANT to understand. Some cannot begin to. Not until they sadly have a situation like I have had. And we aren’t talking about a grocery store or a neighbor’s house.
My son ran off from us at a Theme Park that has a Water Park built in. We were in the section of the Water Park for the younger kids, playing laughing. Back then, my youngest was a baby. About eight months old at the time. In one moment, when both my husband and I turned for a brief second, he was gone. We called and called for him, only to find him nowhere. That’s when panic set in. Next thing I know, we have Park Security, ourselves and a couple of strangers helping us to look for my son.
Thankfully, he was found (by Dad) not too far off, in the other section, waiting for the huge bucket to dump water on them (Dad took him there a bit before and played with him and had the bucket splash them). He wanted to go back to the bucket area, but told no one, and just took off. He just got it in his head that he wanted to go back, but forgot the step to get his wish. Instead, he (literally) ran with the thought and took off.
Hence why the next year, we placed him in a strap harness. It helped us, and it kept him safe. Back then, if it were on the wrist, he surely would have been slick and removed it, only to jet off to God knows where. It was a safety tool. Not an abusive parenting tactic. Abuse would be to NOT do it, and let him run off to anywhere he felt led. With no worry of what COULD happen to him. That’s abusive.
These days, we are no longer using the harnesses. But I tell you what… IF there EVER came a time to need one, you can safely bet that I WILL indeed use one on him. It’s better than him being kidnapped and have unimaginable speaks of horror possibly done to him. My child is TOO trusting and has no boundaries where his social interactions and self are concerned. So, he is an easy target. Personally, I refuse to take that chance. Even at his age.
At almost eleven years old, even a wrist harness may be embarrassing for him to wear, and for us to have to use it. We will I’m sure get nasty stares and a few finger points and snickers. But it’s worth it when I KNOW my son is safe.