What Would You Do If Your Kid ...

@freak369 (4989)
United States
April 14, 2009 1:27pm CST
... was staring at someone with a disability? I don't consider myself handicapped or disabled but I do have a prosthetic leg. When I wear shorts I get a lot of younger kids that stare at me, that doesn't bother me, they are just being curious. I have seen parents catch their kids staring and they've gone off on them or yanked them into another aisle of the store. One kid didn't blink for a minute and I swear, he was inching his way towards me. I knew he wanted to check it out and I have no problem with that but his mom raised a ruckus about him being rude. What would you do in that type of a situation? Like I said, I don't get upset about it at all, I would rather have a kid ask a question or two or ask how it goes on and comes off than to be clueless about it. One kid even said, loudly, "Wow, she must be a pirate". Wow, his mom didn't know what to do or say. I thought it was funny considering we were at Long John Silvers when it happened.
5 people like this
22 responses
• United States
14 Apr 09
As a parent I try to raise my children to be polite and considerate, but as a parent I have at times faultered to say the least. One of my sons did something very similiar once and to be honest I ignored it until we were in our car- for fear that I would make a bigger deal out of it than he was by staring. The "pirate" statement is classic and I think it is great that you are so comfortable with who you are and that you are so willing to put yourself out there and answer questions- Good for you. Parents could all use a lesson in the fine art of knowning when to let the children ask questions. Happy mylotting!
@freak369 (4989)
• United States
14 Apr 09
The look on his moms face was priceless. Of all the things a kid could say, a pirate. I have to laugh at things like that but not everyone in my situation sees that there can be humor. Some want pity, some are miserable and some just can't cope. I can't get my leg back so I have to make the most from the cards that were dealt to me.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (102466)
• United States
15 Apr 09
We cannot choose what happens to us, but only how we respond. You have a terrific attitude.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Apr 09
Garden- I second that- folks just have to take things as the come and the attitude that you do it with decide where you will end up. Happy mylotting!
@roboid (205)
• Romania
14 Apr 09
It is good that you don't have any problem with that, but there are persons that dislike to see that people are staring at them. This is a general fact and thatis why parents consider rude that their kids are staring at your leg. You can joke with them and with parents and in this way they will see that you don't feel offensed. Children are curous and e must feed their curiosity cause they won't be like that all of their life. The childhood is an important step for learning. All the best Robert
• United States
15 Apr 09
Now that's ironic! I think its natural to stare for little kids, they don't quite know what to think so it takes them a little longer to form the hard questions, in the meantime, they get caught staring. My kids usually ask me the question, one time they wanted to ask somebody with a disability the question, I think it went a long way in helping them understand that the person just looks a little different, that's all.
2 people like this
@freak369 (4989)
• United States
15 Apr 09
One of the funniest things was when a kid asked me if I was a Terminator. That got me thinking that I could pull off a great Halloween costume if I had enough time to plan it all out lol
@GardenGerty (102466)
• United States
15 Apr 09
Oh man, I love that last little story. I think in your shoes I would talk to the kid about the parent, maybe. "Oh, hi, Johnny. I see you are curious about my leg. It makes your mommy worry that my feelings might get hurt if you look, but I want you to know I do not get upset if you want to know more about my special leg." I have used the similar approach when working in retail, to let a kid know that asking for help from a store employee is the exactly right thing to do. Parents sometimes get uptight about things that are normal for kids.
@miamilady (4924)
• United States
14 Apr 09
Thanks for starting this discussion. The truth is, I think most parents aren't sure what they should do. I've taught both my kids that it's rude to stare. One of them is good about not staring, the other one isn't so good. My daughter is 16 and she just seems to take things in stride. My son is 13 and I think he's just always been more affected by people who he perceives as "different". It's like he just gets a little mesmerized. Usually it doesn't come off as extremely rude. I think generally give him a nudge before the person who he's staring at notices. It's great that you take these things in stride. I don't think that everyone handles these things as well as you do. It just depends on the person. I remember the mother of a mentally handicapped adult going off on a couple of little girls in a Burger King one time. I think one of them let out a nervous giggle or something. I don't think they were pointing and staring and making fun. I think it was just one of those awkward reactions that some younger kids had and the mom wasn't quick enough to correct them. I think the lady overreacted, but I did think about how hard it must be for her sometimes, and I can understand that there are probably times when she just gets tired of peoples reactions. I'm an adult and sometimes when I see a person in a wheelchair, I'm not sure exactly how I should act. For the most part, I figure I should just act as I do with everyone, but I don't know if that particular person would perceive my making eye contact and a brief smile as "staring" or not.
1 person likes this
@freak369 (4989)
• United States
15 Apr 09
I spend almost three months in a wheelchair waiting for my insurance company to approve my leg and rehab visits. I got a lot of weird looks - partly because of the wheelchair and partly because of the missing leg. It was so weird to see how differently people treated me. Some people went way too far to avoid me (crossing the street, going into shops) and some were overly friendly and wanted to push me everywhere. You never know what put someone in a situation so it can be hard to ask them something without upsetting them. I would rather have someone ask me what happened than to keep looking at me wondering if it was an accident or a shark attack. I am really overwhelmed with the number of answers this thread has gotten, I don't think I've ever had a topic that has gotten more than ten replies lol
@miamilady (4924)
• United States
15 Apr 09
I think the plain truth is that some of us really just don't know HOW to act. We might have an idea of how NOt to act, but as I said, I tend to second guess myself. I don't want to offend. I don't want to be rude, but without knowing the person well, it really is impossible to know what would offend. While you are more comfortable being asked than having a person wondering about you, I imagine some folks are very offended by being asked or maybe, just in a place where they are dealing with their situation on an emotional level and just don't want to talk about it with random strangers.
• United States
14 Apr 09
In our case it would depend on the other person's disability/issue. My children are autistic, so my 8 year old would stare at your leg as she walked up to you, point and ask very loudly what it was, or what's wrong with you. I might let her ask you as long as you looked in a decent mood, LOL. If a person appears to have multiple disabilities, I try to divert my kids' attention so they do not upset the person. If the person does not look "approachable" I just explain to my kids that everyone has their own issues. My daughter understands that people can't "see" her autism like she can see someone with a physical disability. Like I said, it depends what the other person looks like.
1 person likes this
@freak369 (4989)
• United States
15 Apr 09
I have had a few autistic kids ask me questions about it. They were really into it when I explained how they made it and how I put it on and took it off. They didn't ask how it happened, they were more into the mechanics of it. Kids are kids, they are going to look and stare at things that are new to them. Now, if a kid came up and kicked me, well, that's a whole different story lol.
@katsmeow1213 (29047)
• United States
15 Apr 09
I try not to be rude, so I will whisper to my child that staring is rude, and I will explain to my child what they just witnessed. It happened once a few years ago, we were entering the library and there was a blind person exiting the library. They had a dog and a cane and the whole 9 yards. My oldest son was maybe 6 at the time, and he couldn't stop staring. He asked as loudly as possible "How come she can bring a dog into the library, I thought pets weren't allowed?" So I calmly explained that it's a helping dog, the dog helps the woman because she can't see, and so this dog is allowed anywhere the woman goes. "How come she can't see?" The woman overheard most of this, I stayed calm and quiet, not trying to raise any attention, but also not trying to hide my child's curiosity. The woman knew she was blind, and I'm sure she expected others to be curious about her condition. If she had a problem with the way I was explaining things to my son, she had every right to speak up, but she didn't.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
15 Apr 09
Hi, freak369! I would just politely tell him not to stare. If he was so curious to know why the person has an amputated leg, then I will see if it was okay with that person to ask them about it. If not, I won't intrude. But, when we are away from this person, I may explain to my child what this persons condition is. I will do it with respect for an person that has an body part amputated. Because there are many reasons why a person has an amputated leg. I know an older lady that lives across the street from my in-laws old home. And she has an amputated leg. I believe that hers came from sugar. She had a Stroke a while back, and she is a Diabetic. I saw her remove her prosthetic leg, and let her amputated leg breathe. She said that underneath all of the wrapping, it made her leg hot. I always thought that I would be scared to see a persons leg amputated, but I was not afraid. I admire her for being able to live with her condition. She still gets around and does her daily activities like any aother person that does not have an amputuated leg. She does not let her condition stop her from living. To be honest with you, I could not even tell that she had her leg amputated. She wears soft and cool pants. You can only tell when she takes off her prosthetic leg in front of you. I can tell that you have dealt with your condition, and you don't let what others think about you, make you who your are. I admire people that you are like you. It makes me want to keep living because of you! Take care of yourself! And continue to stay strong!
1 person likes this
@JABeau59 (446)
• United States
15 Apr 09
Kids are naturally curious. I wish parents would take time to explain things to them at the time it happens, because later on, they may not even remember what their parent is talking about. The pirate comment is priceless. Kids are so innocent.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Apr 09
Great discussion! My husband is a disabled Vet, so when he has to use his crutches on bad days we get lots of stares as well. Our oldest is just 2 1/2 and he's pretty well exposed to people with disabilities by having to go the VA with his daddy for visits when we drive him, and we have a few people who live in our building with disabilities. We don't make a huge deal out of staring to be honest. Children are naturally curious. Instead we tell him "Are you saying hello? That's so nice of you", and then he'll say "Hi" to whomever he was looking at. It generally gets a stare. We don't want him to think that people are "different" who have disabilities, if that makes sense. Instead we're teaching him to say hello if he's looking at someone or passing by someone. Have a great one. Namaste-Anora
1 person likes this
@mipen2006 (5528)
• Australia
14 Apr 09
I grew up in a neighbourhood with two down syndrome kids, so I learned early bot to look at peoplr who were 'different,' I don't think there's anything wrong with a kid asking a question to satisify their curiousity, and most adults understand this. Anything, or anyony different to the norm will get any alert kid's attention.
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Apr 09
Kids are curious and innocent. I know quite a few people with disabilities and they all handle it differently. I say just smile and they will know you are ok. I think kids just need reassurance in this crazy world. And if they ask you a personal question about your disability. You can use humor, or be serious. It is all up to you and how mature of a person you are or they are. But the average child is only curious. Sometime saying something like "I bet you would like to know how this happened to me?" can break the ice, but it isn't necessary. I would not consider a child's curiousity rude. I think you have a great sense of humor.
@mechace1 (50)
• United States
14 Apr 09
If my kid stared at someone with a disability i probably would yank them away and try to explain what was wrong witht the person later on. I personally remember as a young child seeing someone in a wheel chair, and i just stared at them. As you said it is based upon curiousity because as a young child you don't realize what is wrong with people if they have disabilities. I remember getting yanked away and being told not to stare at these kind of people. And just saying here, but thats really funny about Long John Silvers lmao.
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Apr 09
There is a way to handle a child who does this because after all kids are curious people. I would not hollar at a child for doing what is a natural part of their make up. As long as the person who has a disability is alright with it I would take my child up to them and begin a conversation with the person. I am fully aware that the child would say something about the handicap but that would be the whole purpose in bringing the child to meet the person.
1 person likes this
@Foxxee (3653)
• United States
15 Apr 09
Kids will be kids... they say the craziest things. I wouldn't raise a rukus if my child was to stare... I would wait for her to ask me a question & I would explain, like always that everyone is different. We have always raised our daughter with an open mind... I don't think it's a good idea to go off on your child for being curious...
@freak369 (4989)
• United States
16 Apr 09
I think that there is a fine line between being curious and being rude. I've had to deal with some stuff that wasn't all that pleasant and comments from adults about me being "too slow" when crossing the street or when my leg locks up and I have to shake it a little to get it to flex out. Kids are usually cool about it, their parents are the ones that get uptight about them being curious.
• United States
15 Apr 09
i would probably slap them in the back of the head. i would never allow my child to stare like that at somebody,much less make comments. both my folks were disabled.
@Foxxee (3653)
• United States
15 Apr 09
Why would you do that? Isn't it better just to let kids be curious? Better yet, explain to them that people are ALL different...
2 people like this
• United States
15 Apr 09
Well my mom always taught me not to stare or point at people or things she said that was rude and can cause trouble, and I must say she was right a couple of times but some people don't have a sense of humor and logic as you do, some people would find it offensive because of their condition,some people are ashamed and feel out of place unlike you. I don't think parents should make a big fuss unless teh child was being rude. Now their are some un mannered children out their who will act with no home training, but I think its to be exspected when parents react like that...
@di1159 (1580)
• United States
15 Apr 09
Kids handle these situations better than adults. As you say,it's very natural for a child to stare and want to know more out of natural curiosity. As adults, we feel that is being rude and disrespectful (which of course is not the case). I'd probably say hi and ask the child if he wanted to see it up close. This would put the parent a little more at ease. I always tell my kids that people with disabilities are the same as us, no different. They usually handle it pretty well.
@syankee525 (6294)
• United States
15 Apr 09
i would either tell them it's not nice to steer at people, or bring them up and ask if its ok they look. i have a skin disorder, see if i can spell it right serize. no where close. but i will have kids ask me whats wrong with my elbows or what is that. i just explain it to them it dry skin that forgot to fall off. or if i want to have fun, i tell them my wife told me to cut the grass and i said no so she gave it to me. but mostly its older people..
• Kuwait
15 Apr 09
haha the best thing to do is act friendly. Just smile at the the children that pass by to show them that it's ok and you're normal. Being friendly makes the kids more fond of you and shows that parents that you are ok with it.