Parents – Explanations vs Apologies

All to often, we’ve been in the situation where our child is in public and totally at random we find ourselves in the middle of a meltdown, an non responsive zombie or just a very bizarre act that people just see as weird.

Our first response is to look around, see who’s looking at us… are they saying anything to the person next to them? Are they obviously thinking something we’ve heard before?

First thing we can think to say is… now say it with me “I’m sorry, my child has Autism”.

Are you really sorry? I’m not. I have nothing to be sorry for. In fact, my child has done nothing wrong. All children do these things, mine just happens to do it more often than most but you know what? They don’t know that. They’re witnessing it for the first time. And they’re making judgments. No, my child has done nothing wrong. They have. Shame on them for passing judgments without all the information.

That being said, there’s nothing wrong with explaining yourself… “my child has Autism, he’s just really overloaded by all the sights and sounds in here. He doesn’t mean to bother you.”

See the difference there?

I can assure you, with almost 100% certainty, that the person you’re talking to will get far more from that than an empty apology. They don’t know what Autism really is, they don’t know you or your child. But your tone does come across, whether you know it or not. You’ve apologized a million times and you’ve never really meant it, not really. You’ve done nothing wrong, neither did your child. And that person will walk away, still judging you and and still judging your child and you’ll finish what you’re doing and go home feeling angry, defeated… depressed.

Do not apologize for what you do not have to apologize for. Instead, explain what is happening and why. It doesn’t take long. And in so doing, you’re raising awareness, you’re not faking a smile behind anger and tears.

We’ve all been there, we’ll all be there again. There’s no need to feel bad, there’s no need to feel mad. Either they get an explanation or they don’t deserve one but never ever do they deserve an apology when you’ve done nothing wrong.

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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