A couple of weeks ago, one of the parents of HB's classmate came up to me and asked if HB was my son. I said yes. Then she proceeded to tell me who her son was (I can't remember his name) and that HB had called him stupid and scratched him. I was aware that this sort of thing was going on. His teachers were telling me and HB was telling me (and labeling himself in defeat as a bad child). This is why I had fired them off a letter asking for some sort of accommodations.
My response was to say that I was aware that there were behavioral problems going on and that HB was autistic. I sat for a second trying to figure out the next thing to say. Should I apologize? Should I explain that we've been working with the school to curb these behaviors? As I was grasping for the next statement to make, she turned her heels and walked off. I'm not sure if she suddenly realized that my son is not a hateful person but rather disabled. Or felt embarrassed for making the assumption that I wasn't aware or that he's a neural typical kid.
I mentioned it to the teacher more or less to give her a heads up. I know it must be frustrating for her because legally she's not allowed to disclose any of HB's medical conditions or treatments. She said the exchange was a strange one because I'm not in the classroom so what as a parent could I have done.
I relayed the exchange to some women from my Bible study. One of the moms empathized with me. She has two adopted children: one of who came to her as an elementary aged child with an awful background. Her daughter takes things despite my friend's desperation to try to get her to stop. It's a survival tactic she had to do, but now it's just a habit she's unable/unwilling to let go of. My friend has had to explain to the school and at time others parents. "My daughter's adopted. We don't teach her to steal, but she learned this in order to survive. She's wounded."
That's why I get upset when the media or even fellow parents blame other parents for their child's behavior. We can't know everything. We can't begin to understand what the child and the family has been through. It's not a fair assumption to blame the parents. And it's crazy that people blame the parents of adult children. It really needs to stop. And we need to understand that those parents who are abusive are a small percentage of all parents. Most parents do the best that they can and parent in the best ways they can given their situation.
I'm so over the parenting wars. Let's quit blaming the parents and instead see in what ways we can help them. Let's uplift families instead of tearing them down.