You sit under the shade of a large oak tree while your children wearing bathing suits play under the water fountains. It’s a perfect afternoon except for that kid.
This child screams profanities, throws mulch, and wails on the mom.
What do you do when you see that kid?
Do you criticize the mom’s tactics as she seems to be negotiating with a kid who needs to be shown who is the boss?
Do you wonder why she bothers bringing that kid to the park? The child needs to be kept home because you don’t want your kids picking up bad habits.
Do you question the mom’s dedication? Surely, all this child needs is more attention or the right kind of therapy.
Do you quietly utter a prayer of thanks that this is not your child?
Or do you approach the mom with reassuring words of support or an offer of help?
I am a Mom to That Kid.
The kid whose behavior can be so extreme that I completely understand when other families avoid us. It feels isolating to be a mom of that kid.
I want to thank those who welcome our family even our child who might be labeled as a negative influence.
Thank you to one of my mama friends who continued to come over for playdates even after my child whacked her smaller child across the face with a stick.
In thanks, to my neighbors who refused compensation when my child permanently broke a door off their Little Tykes playground. A few weeks later this neighbor donated the playground to our family.
I am grateful to the mom of two small children who didn’t run away from the playground when my child screamed bad words. I apologized to her for my child’s behavior. She complimented my composure and invited me to join a play group.
In gratitude to my church community for always including this child in all programs.
Thank you to my former minister who came to our pew during communion to personally deliver the sacraments. My child tantrummed, and I was unable to go to the alter. No word of judgment uttered about my child disturbing a sacred ritual.
Appreciative of my child’s yoga teacher who created a smaller class size because my child didn’t cope well in a larger class. This smaller class allowed my child to succeed in a group setting while still getting the benefits of yoga.
Thankful for the non judgmental mother at the splash pad who came over to offer assistance during one of my child’s extreme meltdowns. Her presence reduced my stress which had an immediate calming effect on my child.
In grateful recognition, to grandparents who continue to be an example of unconditional love for this child sometimes lashes out more on those who are loved most.
My heart pours out in joy to those who continue loving and supporting us because they know that my child is not defined by the hard moments. My child is worth getting to know.
While it can be hard sometimes, my child is full of play and laughter to share with others. My child needs friendship not pity.
By including my child, you are giving my child a gift. A gift of community.
My belief is that my child will continue to grow more if accepted by others.
Excluding children with negative behavior doesn’t allow them to learn pro social behaviors from their typically developing peers and adult role models in the community.
Next time you see that kid what will you do?
This post originally appeared at Finding the Golden Gleam.