Friday, January 10, 2014

Autism Answer: The Grocery Store Meltdown And An Opportunity Missed

I was in the grocery store a few months back. The woman a few folks ahead of me in line had a cute little girl with her who was crying about wanting candy. The woman reminded the child kindly that she had already said no, and then proceeded to ignore the child's tantrum. 

The tantrum was pretty intense, and being an autism mom, sibling, and daughter, I couldn't help but wonder a little about possible neurological issues, and being an organic health food fan I couldn't help but toy with the possible story of a desperate child wanting something other kids seemingly unfairly get, but mostly I just saw a little girl trying to get her way and a mom parenting while shopping. 

As they began to walk out of the store the little girl could feel her chances of changing mom's mind slip away, and began to hit her mom on the thigh. Again, the woman just reminded her that they had gotten what they'd come to the store for and then ignored the hitting and crying.

After they had left, the cashier began speaking with disgust about this woman's parenting. How could she just allow the hitting without reprimand? How could she just smile and ignore a wild tantrum while her child hit her?? Everyone else in line was nodding in agreement and wondering what the world is coming to, when these little girls can just hit their moms.

I was thinking very different thoughts. How I was impressed that the mom had been willing to say no, explain her reason, but never give attention to the behaviors she didn't like. I was thinking that the little girl had tried crying and hitting, only to get none of what she wanted. Attention or candy. 

I was remembering how often that mom had been me, and how often I had left a store knowing that I would be judged and ridiculed the way these people were judging that woman.

As I walked out of the store I took a moment to be proud of the mom I once was, happy for the little girl whose mom seemed to be choosing parenting over fear of judgment, and resolved to speak up the next time I was ever in the position to do so.

Because while I had been busy thinking these thoughts, I had forgotten to share them with the folks in the store. Possibly out of fear of judgment. And a little bit because I hadn't yet fully formed my thoughts clearly....

possibly out of fear of judgement.


In moments like these I find it important to forgive myself, and then discover my fully formed thoughts so that they'll be readily available next time. 

Thank-you sooooooo much for being here while I reveal and share them!!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)