Snappy Comebacks to “Why Can’t You Control Your [Screaming] Child?”

It really doesn’t help when strangers deliver stinging comments like “Can’t you control your child?” or “Can’t you hear your child screaming?” while you are otherwise engaged in simultaneously:

1) figuring out what’s causing him to scream/misbehave

2) avoiding injury to yourself, the environment and your offspring, and

3) trying to calm down the noisy little one. One way I’ve found to nip the comments of others in the bud is to develop a short-list of ready-made responses.

Snappy Comebacks to “Can’t you hear (control) your screaming child?”  

1. “My child is on the autism spectrum. It is a complicated disease, and my son cannot help the way he is acting.” Mature and sensible, this approach works when you have a few minutes to spare for follow-up dialogue, which means you will rarely ever use it. Please see below for alternatives.

2. “I’m deaf.” My friend Ashley uses this one all the time to cut off these rude strangers at the pass. I never had the courage to use it.

3.“There are forces in play here that you cannot possibly understand.” I have been dying to try this one accompanied by a sinister waggling of my eyebrows, but haven’t been daring enough to do so.

4.   “Sorry, I can’t talk now; my child is having a meltdown.” Brief and to the point, yet polite. It is a favorite among all of the moms we’ve talked to.

5-6. “He’s really hungry.” Wimpy, but it works. The only problem is that you have to somehow scoop the child up and take him somewhere where there is presumably food. In essence, you are cutting short your activity and making up excuses to accommodate the judgment of others. Alternatives such as, “she’s really tired” also work well, but are equally cowardly. I used these frequently before receiving Connor’s diagnosis. I have become much more assertive since then.

7. Yes, but I choose not to. I’m letting him work it out on his own. Thank you for thinking of us, and I apologize for disturbing you.” A polite way of saying mind-your-own-business, but also verifying that you have a reason for what you’re doing. It also protects the child by not using autism as an excuse, if you have not yet told your child about his autism diagnosis.

8. If I have the time, I try patiently to explain, but the problem with this approach is that I won’t be heard over the din of screaming and flying objects, even if I am prepared to be pithy. The Autism Speaks Organization has a button that you can order online to say, “I’m Not Misbehaving. I have Autism,” but I have a hard time asking my son to wear one all the time, especially since his meltdowns are now few and far between, and I know that he values his privacy.

9. Ignore them. This takes more self-discipline than I have.

10. And finally, I try to remember that many people still just don’t understand autism. I try not to be too hard on them.

autismisnottheboss on Twitter
L. Mae Wilkinson
Quiet advocate, volunteer parent mentor. Semi-retired corporate marketing and management consultant.
L. Mae Wilkinson


Quiet advocate, volunteer parent mentor. Semi-retired corporate marketing and management consultant.

79 thoughts on “Snappy Comebacks to “Why Can’t You Control Your [Screaming] Child?”

  • Sarah

    OK, I missed a few comments between the beginning and end…

    First a word on positive versus negative reinforcement.  Many,many autistic kids have very specific SENSORY INTEGRATION issues.  Just as hyperacusis would make screaming literally painful to someone with no other issues, other seemingly RANDOM things cause similar reactions in these children.  For this reason alone, negative consequences that purposely cause pain – hitting, spanking, yanking, screaming and yelling – are a guaranteed overload.  Overload = brain scrambled = logic turned off and knee jerk reactions  and ear splitting screams turned on.  The part of the brain designed to “understand” that this is directly related to their own (often already overloaded) behavior is NOT FUNCTIONAL.  No amount of physical, verbal, or emotional punishment, (short of tasering or running them over with your car) will result in that part of the brain SUDDENLY BECOMING FUNCTIONAL.
    Obviously, in the case of positive reinforcement, a parent can tailor the positive consequences to be things that generate the opposite response – calming and relaxation.  Relaxation = brain back online = screaming off and joy to the world.  
    Something has occurred to me, however, reading all this bitching and moaning about screaming children.  Seriously – I don’t enjoy listening to it any more than anyone else.  I am not autistic, but it scrambles my brain and makes carrying on with whatever I was doing fairly difficult.
    And then I remembered – a child’s scream, a baby’s wail, is BIOLOGICALLY DESIGNED TO CAUSE EMOTIONAL STRESS in human beings around it.  It’s a wonderful function of being part of a species that is trying to survive.  That specific sound is SUPPOSED to set you off and make you want to do anything in your power to make it stop make it stop make it stop.  It’s why we get up in the middle of the night to feed the baby, rush out to swoop up our child from a large scary dog, and find them in a large shopping center when they’ve realized they’ve lost sight of us.
    But just like so many aspects of autistic people, something has happened to magnify the intensity past all understanding.
    So go ahead and cover your ears, make faces, mutter under your breath.  But could you please please please please help me throw my milk and diapers in the car and whisk my cart away so I’m not trying to get my key in the door with one hand and holding my son upside down by his ankle with the other hand?  That would be AWESOME!!
    And in exchange, I promise never to take my son anywhere you are paying $200 for a meal, or a movie that doesn’t involve Pixar and pre-bedtime movie hours.  Because I need that like a hole in the head anyway. (In fact, it is a really good bet that any examples of extremely bad parenting you see at that kind of restaurant are NOT related to autism.  Families dealing with autism rarely have $200 to blow on ANYTHING much less a meal surrounded by people who are hating them.)
    And to the US Marine – I’m sorry but I’m really going to have to take back my thank you.  Anyone, regardless of uniform, who feels it necessary to threaten a mother of a 13 month old with “cunt punting” is actually someone I would NOT WANT DEFENDING ME OR MY COUNTRY.  That is the type of behavior that starts wars, gets people killed, and probably gets you into all kinds of trouble that we don’t need over there in the middle of good men trying to serve with honor.  Look into WWF, or go back to hanging out with your XBox shooting at people on screens.  Seriously.

  • Sarah

    I’m seeing two different complaints here from people who very clearly do not have autistic children.  A woman sitting at a bus stop letting her kids jump all over despite a disabled man needing a seat – That has NOTHING TO DO WITH AUTISTIC CHILDREN MELTING DOWN.  “When I was a kid if I made one peep at the wrong time or in the wrong place, I’d get a good smack in the lips. No screwing around. I sat in church with my hands in my lap, no fidgeting or squirming about and not whispering. In a restaurant – anywhere, the same thing. My old man would say, “Sit up straight mister”  and that’s all. ”  THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH AUTISM.  You want to hear my child blow eardrums like a fire siren?  THEN SMACK HIM IN THE LIPS.  Otherwise, back off and let me do what I’ve been learning to do since the first day he started banging his head into the corner of a cement wall until I restrained him on my lap with his hands pulling my hair and his teeth sunk into my arm for fifteen minutes.  And consider the blessed life you lead if your biggest problem at that moment is the confused, frightened, soul shattered scream of my three year old.

    As a US Marine, I thank you for your service.  But you do not see me railing against the sometimes overwhelming numbers of mentally unstable vets roaming the streets in my town – “WHO LET THESE PEOPLE OUT IN PUBLIC?  I’M JUST TRYING TO GET A CUP OF COFFEE!”  Vets are coming home these days, THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN, with a host of mental illnesses that they have very little control over.  They need help, community, love, understanding… NOT BANISHMENT FROM THE PUBLIC EYE.  
    Autistic children did not ask for this.  They didn’t even sign up for it.  Neither did their parents.  Yet here we are, trying to figure out how to help them be as productive in society as possible, when we are no longer here to buffer between their world and ours.  Thanks for your understanding.
    But is this what I said today when I said we couldn’t go into the store and it took me 20 minutes to get him and his baby sister the rest of the block toward home?  No, I put my head down and focused on breathing and keeping my voice calm, and everything and everyone around me faded to grey.  Because many other days I am told, over and over, how sweet, adorable, good natured, and handsome he is as we go down the street and he kisses his sister on the head and points out trees and birds.  After a year of six different therapy appointments a week, those days are becoming more common.  Most often the first thought coming out of my head in the bad moments – “Welcome to my world.”

    • I think what you’re seeing is a reaction to people who will often say their ill-mannered, undisciplined children are are autistic as an excuse to let them run wild with NO direction whatsoever. People love to use that so they don’t have to work on their child’s behavior, making it harder for others to distinguish between a child who HAS autism and one who is just a brat.

  • When my daughter was young I had no idea why she behaved the way she did.  As a baby and a toddler, she would cry inconsolably and loudly for reasons I couldn’t ascertain, and it caused me great pain to see her go through these fits without knowing what caused them, or how to ease her obvious pain.  It was terrifying to enter an elevator, for instance, or other situations where others might be forced to endure one of her fits, if she was to have one.  I certainly was mortified by the looks of disdain and discomfort from others, and their comments hurt me to the core.

    As she grew older it became evident that my child was brilliant.  She was reading before she was two, she was doing fourth grade math in preschool, and yet she was still having huge challenges socially.  In spite of all of the awareness that was dawning regarding autism, it never occurred to her dad or me that that was our daughter’s problem.  All I knew about autism was kids who didn’t talk, couldn’t be touched or hugged, and sat by themselves rocking back and forth with faraway looks in their eyes. 

    I was very ignorant, but then, the countless doctors and therapists we took her to were apparantly ignorant, also, because the tests they did, the various guesses they made as to the cause of her challenges and her fits, included everything from allergies to depression to ADHD, but never once did they say, “oh a sensitivity to light and sound, scially awkward, etc.., well that’s Aspberger’s Syndrome.”  It wasn’t until she was seventeen that we  finally figured out  that diagnosis for ourselves.  It made all the difference in the world in the way that we dealt with her and her challenges.

    Certainly there are parents out there who should take better control of their children in public; we’ve all seen them, but please don’t be hasty in your judgements when a child is having a meltdown.  I believe it is necessary to remove the child from the resturant, or movie theater, to allow them to calm down and not to disturb the people who are just trying to enjoy themselves. I think that’s common curtesy no matter what the child’s problem is.  I always did the best I could not to disturb others when my daughter had her fits, but sometimes there is just nothing you can do but wait it out with your child at the supermarket or retail outlet.  Sometimes your calm might be blasted by an autistic child responding the only way they know how, and you know what?  Show some compassion; think of someone besides yourself, and thank God that you or your child aren’t so afflicted. 

  • @BunnyParfait@xanga –  No worries there.  We usually only go to the grocery store, mall or kid friendly restaraunts.  you won’t see me taking her (my daughter, not a brat, thank you very much)  to a very expensive restaraunt or move theatre (until she’s much older).

  • @BunnyParfait@xanga –  You’re right. I shouldn’t have insinuated you were like anybody else. I apologize.

    You can go on thinking I’m an arrogant, inexperienced parent. That’s fine.  I couldn’t care less. The Only reason I even gave my opinion on here was because, if you even read the first paragraph of this post, this poster said that she gets ridiculous comments when she is making an effort to stop it.  I think it is a little silly that people still feel the need to comment when their is an effort made on the parents part.  One may not agree with the method the parent is making, but she is the parent, no one else.  Plenty of people do act like that and that is where I have my experience, people getting bent out of shape for no reason at all (acting childish).  So whatever, think what you want.  It really doesn’t matter in the least bit.

  • Anonymous

    @Brilliant_Innocence@xanga – You reveal your inexperience through your frustration. And I don’t care what someone else said to you on here, he doesn’t represent anyone but himself. It shows your obvious lack of maturity to think that all people act the same way with regards to children. 

  • @BunnyParfait@xanga –  Oh, Okay, right.  Where exactly in my comment did I say that I couldn’t control my child?  Where exactly did I say that I let her run wild (she can’t even walk yet), scream at the top of her lungs for 20 minutes straight, while I just have not a care in the world?  Please, enlighten me as to where I said that.  If My daughter needed to be taken out of a room, I will take her out of the room.  Right now, though, she communicates through simple screams every now and then, she still does cry, but not for 20 minutes straight. I can keep her under control so she’s really nota problem. And how exactly am I whining? I’m offering a different opinion and point of view.    So that makes me arrogant? Let me ask you, all knowing,experienced one, how many kids do you have? 

    A commenter here, who agrees with you, said “now shut up before I c*** punt you across your living room”. He proved my point exactly.  Some of you “adults” act exactly like children. You don’t get your way in public, so you throw a fit of your own.  If I don’t like something you do, I just have to deal with it. If a parent is at least making an effort to calm their child, even in a way you disagree with, then you need to lay off and keep your mouth shut and deal with it.  If you can’t do that, then you’re acting exactly like a child.  If you’re going to act like one, you probably shouldn’t be complaining about them.  That’s all I’m saying.

  • Anonymous

    @Brilliant_Innocence@xanga – You’re still in that arrogance stage where you’re bent on how difficult it is for you to control your child. Experienced parents don’t whine nearly as much, and they’re more skilled at keeping a child quiet.

  • @BunnyParfait@xanga –  A movie theater, I could understand your point.  I also know there are some extreme cases where the kids go nuts and the parents are doing absolutely nothing, though I have actually NEVER witnessed that when I’m out. What I have witnessed is evil glares the minute a child/baby cries or makes a single peep.   So, I have to put up with evil glares the minute my daughter communicates through a simple scream, but you can talk and cuss up a storm as loud as ever and I shouldn’t say anything?  I’ve been out many times, where my daughter has been behaving wonderfully, and “adults” want to swear up a storm a table away.  They act like children and get all pissy when they don’t get their way in public.  OH the horror, my child is being *gasp* a child, but they can do whatever they want!!  Please…

  • @out_of_fear@xanga –  yeah, like that happens EVERY time I go out to eat. PLEASE.  I have never witnessed anything like that from kids in public.  What I have witnessed is the evil glares from people the moment a child opens their mouth about anything.  I have a 13 month old, who sometimes communicates through a simple scream.  Get over it!!  I understand there are situations where kids go nuts and the parents do nothing.  I can agree that that would be an inconvenience.  But I’ve also found that the same people would get so damn upset over any noise, such as a few simple cries, from a baby or child.  It’s the end of the world if their night is ruined as if it’s only all about you.

    “Now shut up before I cunt punt you across your living room.”  Wow, you’re maturity is astounding!!!

    You know how many times I’ve been out with my child and had to hear ADULTS as  loud as ever cussing up a storm!?!?!  I should have to put up with THAT?  You can’t deal with a kid crying but you can cuss up a storm around my kid and I shouldn’t say anything about it? There is no difference. these “adults” act exactly like children and get all pissy when they don’t get their way, when they are out in public.   

  • @Brilliant_Innocence@xanga – Alright. Next time you’re on a quiet night out, I’ll sit right behind you, scream, kick your chair, throw food, and throw temper tantrums till my throat bleeds about ice cream. We’ll see how you like it.

    Now shut up before I cunt punt you across your living room.

  • @ThA_sLo_1@xanga – You know how that autistic kid acts but autism involves spectrums, syndromes and many overlaps…and you don’t seem clear about the differentiation between autistic meltdowns and temper tantrums either.  (See my previous comments.)

    Although important, it’s not all about how effective the parent is, meaning that equally capable and informed parents may get very different results at different rates for the same tactics, knowledge used, early intervention and tenacious consistency put to use in dealing with their autistic child — severity and cognitive areas affected by autism can differ even in the severely autistic.  That’s part of the equation too.

    My nearly 7-year-old grandson doesn’t, for example, understand why it’s not okay to sneak his pants down and play with his penis in public (he’s learned not to out of sheer repetition and consequence) but he’s the same individual who can outperform even most intelligent adults when it comes to acts of hand-eye coordination and figuring out how to reach, unlock, or othewise get into or out of just about anything.  Put in a room in which everything is locked up or placed way up high without a chair or other thing useful for climbing up on things in sight?  He’s able to reach almost anything even with extreme precautions and he’s usually able to do it in the time the adult on watch runs to the bathroom…hence up to three locks and latches on many doors and other adaptations…alarms, locked cabinets, things up up high or stored in the basement.  For safety reasons, the adult on duty goes to the bathroom with the door open if in-home therapy people aren’t there.  Yes, his mommy has had to jump off the toilet in the middle of her business to run after him while keeping her pants up.  More than once.  With all those locks and alarms.

    Me, I’m not so good at figuring out the things he does.  I’m more of a pattern thinker, get abstract things like math, and am (obviously) verbal.  I have a very excellent grasp of right and wrong, have a fantastic work ethic, but totally suck at unstructured social situations or workplace politics.

    @alternamom – I’m also on the autism range and please, with all due respect, please don’t refer to a neurological difference as a disease.  The ramifications of referring to autism as a disease dominos into all areas financial, spiritual/religious, social, and so on. 

    Yup.  Those seemingly small or insignificant differentiations can create huge differences.

  • Our children have a neurological disease, it is debilitating, and it results in endless nights awake trying to figure out how to integrate them into society by YOUR rules… 

    Frankly, I find most of these comments inhumane and discriminatory! 1 out of 100 kids have autism… get over it as it could be your child!

  • @mycontinuity@xanga – I know how autistic kids act, my cousin is one. BUT he is VERY smart and DOES infact know from right and wrong, he just has outbursts, BUT his mother is very effective, and always has been seeing as hes 28, in controlling his outbursts therefore preventing a scene from happening. She doesn’t keep him out of the public eye, she just knows how to communicate, though he cannot speak, with him and she knows places that he can handle and places that he cannot. Just because a child has autism, that is no reason to excuse them having a huge meltdown in the store and the parent do little or nothing about it. 

  • Anonymous

    @Brilliant_Innocence@xanga – Believe it or not in a lot of cases it IS an inconvenience. I dare someone with a screaming child to come at me to tell me to deal with it if they were in a movie theatre. 

  • Although they can overlap at times, tantrums and meltdowns can and should be differentiated as best and as much as possible.

    A tantrum is often in reaction to a child attempting to manipulate their parent or, if very young, they might just need a nap.  The child is usually verbal and/or can understand verbal and visual communication in a manner within normal for their age and a few times of marching them out of the store when they have a tantrum may be quite effective once they’re toddlers or older.  Life returns to normal and it’s on to the next developmental milestone.

    A meltdown in an autistic kid may be from sensory overload (the lights, the noises, the smells, the strangers) and confusion.  If severely autistic, the child may or may not be verbal and may or may not be years away from even beginning grasping even basic social expectations.  The child may not yet be developed enough to understand that leaving the store is a consequence so if you wouldn’t expect an 8 month old to stop crying because you took it out of a store, it may or may not be a realistic or effective tactic for dealing with an older autistic child.  Yet.  You’d have to know what was the case for that autistic child.  Autism is a range and each child is a bit different.

    Besides, you may be dealing with a meltdown, not a tantrum, remember?  But sometimes it’s a bit of both.  It takes some practice and patience to figure out each kid and instance.

    Meltdowns may be far more severe than tantrums and self-injury and injury of parent and/or siblings can be a concern, as can destruction of property not yet bought or intended for purchase.  If you sense the child is having a meltdown rather than a tantrum, if you sense they’re somehow different and/or you notice the parent is trying to steer to the center of the isle and clear of other customers and their carts (as best as possible), please be kind and let them maneuver.  They’re making an effort and a moment of observant courtesy and respect (compassion!) and minimal effort on your part can make a huge difference.

    Meltdowns happen every or nearly every shopping trip for the parent(s) of some autistic children and they often do not have the money or the willing sitters to help them watch the kid(s) while they go shopping.  If you have annoyance at suffering a few moments of their presence, imagine the line of people waiting to babysit the kid.  I’ve been watching my severely autistic grandson for months because, although we live in a town of about 100,000, my daughter has run out of day care providers who’ll watch him anymore and she spends much of her spare time, never enough spare time, looking for new sitters!  But since my husband lost his job, I’m going to have to go back to work.  I might even have to work two jobs.  Life happens.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have family willing and able to watch autistic kids so they can leave them at home.

    Please don’t assume that the parent can leave the store because a meltdown starts.  Not only might the child not grasp and respond to consequences (yet!), they may really need the diapers, the food, the medicine they came for.  They must provide for their children.  “Can’t you control your child?” responses, although seemingly ignorant and/or antagonistic, are a walk in the park compared to the ramifications of not providing for one’s children.

    At home and in the car, parents of autistic children may have to have locks and alarms on most doors, may have to clean poo and pee off of walls, beds, and other items on a daily basis despite the use of diapers and years of tenacious toilet training attempts.  They also may have to replace windows and other items (like mattresses) with alarming frequency and make adaptations as much as possible.  Additionally, since some autistic kids are also profoundly hyperactive and may only sleep a few hours a night and may not nap, some parents of autistic kids may be routinely seriously sleep deprived to an extent difficult for most to fathom.  (Things have improved with time in my grandson’s case, thank goodness, and he sleeps through most nights about 7 hours now.)

    And while dealing with all that, the parent’s social circle usually has shrunk considerably and even fewer people, close friends and day care professionals included, will watch their kids either for pay or out of social/familial compassion/duty.  Even good friends are usually not that good!

    Additionally, the parents of autistic children are often single.  The divorce rate for autistic kids is something like 80 percent.  Part of the reason for that is while these parents suffer at least the same (or higher, nobody is tracking this) rates for abuse, addiction, and other problems as the general population, they can tolerate such problems less than the general population.  Stress levels are much higher, as one might imagine, and not everyone handles it well.  If your severely autistic kid is draining you and your spouse takes up alcoholism, womanizing, and a gambling addiction, spending money on such things instead of normal and autism needs, which cost money I assure you, no, you’re not going to work your way through it for years to try to make the marriage work.  Well, you could try but prosecution for neglect is likely and you’ll be to blame as well, legally and morally.

    But I’m so glad there are those who don’t put up with expletive deletive and who will never come around to places like autisable again because they don’t accept excuses.  They are not going to and don’t have to understand and navigate and all that from a distance and world full of black and white thinking, purposeful ignorance (a.k.a. a bad faith decision), snap judgments or righteous indignity.

    I differentiate toxic individuals from people who just didn’t realize what they’re witnessing or what autism is.  I do.  As much as possible.

  • @BunnyParfait@xanga – Right. Nobody has to go out of their way to be mean about any of this but, having the decency to take other people around into consideration is the proper thing to do. Making up BS and defending it is pretty low. 

  • I would ask them if they could do better at “controlling your screaming child” they obviously seem to think they can.

  • @Brilliant_Innocence@xanga – yu obviously didnt get what i was saying at all . yes, my life is stressful and it is for most people. i didnt mean that when a baby first starts to cry, people get annoyed automatically. thats not what im saying at all. everyone understands that babies cry. babies yell. its part of life. but at the same time, if the mother or the father does not stop their child from crying after quite awhile, then that isnt right. the parents should be able to control their child. thats all that im saying. if someone didnt want my opinions, then this post wouldnt have been posted in the first place. if they didnt want opinions, then it shouldnt have been posted. simple as that.

  • @out_of_fear@xanga –  My heart bleeds for you.  You’re right, the world should revolve around you every second of every day.  How dare anybody else inconvenience your night out!!! It’s the end of the world… boo hoo!!!  *dripping sarcasm*

  • @C0URRtNEYYX@xanga –  My heart bleeds for you that you can’t go out and have peace the way you would like.  Your life sounds so stressful, how dare ANYBODY make any noise at all around you becuase you’re working so hard and DESERVE and are ENTITLED to peace in public!!

    I can’t remember the last time my life was ruined over a kid crying in public.  Oh the horror!!  All I remember is going out, not being so self centered and realizing that the world doesn’t revolve around me and my comforts and kids are going to be noisy.  I wasn’t fased by it, didn’t give disgusting, immature glares to people because they weren’t making sure I was comfortable. 

    boo hoo… grow up and get overyourself.

  • Well, we live in an extremely self centered society, so all the negative comments on here are not surprising.  People are willfully ignorant.  Anything that is an inconvenience to them just shouldn’t be happening and they are as rude as all get out.  I can’t stand people like this.  It’s all about them or they get all offended that children even exist.  They are pretty sad and pathetic people. That’s all I have to say.  I’m not catering to them either.  YOu can whine, bitch and moan, but you can also go away and learn it’s not all about you and your comforts.  Stupid idiots.

  • Anonymous

    @dikdoktor@xanga – THANK YOU.

    If your kid has autism I expect you to work HARDER not to give me more excuses!

  • Anonymous

    You do realize that people will always get frustrated with random children crying. It’s not as though people can diagnose your child to have autism upon a glance of their crying face. All they see is a child misbehaving.

    “I’m Not Misbehaving. I have Autism,”

    It’s still misbehaving…actually. It’s just caused by autism rather than by general bad behavior. To negate societal expectations on behaving well is just as immature as the people who get on parents for a crying baby.

    In a lot of these cases the people that get on the parents are either super old and already have a bad disposition towards children or they’ve never had kids before and don’t understand. No one assumes however that a crying child has autism. Naturally people expect parents to have control over their child.

  • Autistic or not, kids throw tantrums. No one is an expert at solving that problem. Just trying to calm then down as best as you can is good enough and a challenge at the same time.

  • @Hellsing_Bird_of_Hermes@xanga – Believe me, people that know me will tell you I don’t put up with any shit. Here in Xanga or on the street. I looked right at the moron and asked her if she needed to be taking up 3 seats. When I saw I was talking to an imbecile, I just said to hell with it. I can’t afford to lose my temper, bad things happen. I’m not use to taking the bus, I have a van but can’t drive it right now. In a couple of weeks, I’ll never have to be on another bus I hope.

     For the record, I won’t be coming back to this site either. I’ve heard bullshit in my days but all of the excuses and other crap in here about kids acting up is crap.

  • A suggestion to add to your repertoire, “Can’t you tell that I’m currently busy controlling my urge to beat you to death with a blunt instrument?”

  • Which trumps then, your child’s autism and “inability” to be quieted… or my hyperacusis, and the part where your child’s screaming is causing me physical pain? I agree that people who jump on you like that are being rude, however so are people who do just let their children scream… it’s a lose-lose situation.

    If you child is screaming or doing something that is generally not acceptable in public, perhaps the best response to people is “I’m sorry, it’s complicated.”

  • How about:

    “My autistic child is having a meltdown, thanks for your compassion and expertise.


    “Autism.  Meltdown.  Look it up.”

    But usually you’re too busy trying to simultaneously prevent injury, figure out the cause of the meltdown, and sooth your autistic kid/relative so that you can finish shopping since some autistic children experience noisy difficulties or outright meltdowns every time they’re in a store (the lights, the noise, and so on) and there is no shopping fairy but the shopping has to get done.

    My daughter is lucky.  My grandson is severely autistic but I’ve been able to watch the kids while she shops on the way home from work (after the time day care providers are usually closed) or I actually go to the store with her and she takes one kid while I take the other.

    Economic changes are soon going to affect my ability to do that though.  Fortunately, his system has been maturing and now, at nearly 7, the meltdowns aren’t as frequent or as severe…usually.  Shopping is still an ordeal.  It was only the last year or so that we got him to stop whipping a certain part of his anatomy out when we turned to look at something on the shelf or ask a clerk about housepaints, for example.  We belted up his pants and all sorts of things to try to minimize that.  People of normal kids have no idea!

    Oh, and please don’t refer to autism as a disease.  I’m not diseased.  I have a difference.  Choice of words makes a bigger difference than people realize.  Socially, politically, financially, even spiritually, looking at people through the disease lens though such an unfortunate choice of words has profound ramifications that domino.

  • I am no mother.
    And certainly not a mother of an autistic kid.
    But I am an aunt, of four.
    And it’s a no-brainer to me that raising kids is hard work.
    Very rewarding, but requires a lot of effort and strength.
    That’s why I just enjoy being an aunt, with no kids of my own right now, because I can play with my sister’s kids and eventually send them back home to their mama.
    I really just don’t get how anybody could possibly think that it’s beneath them to deal with loud kids in a public place.
    Kids are kids, and the public is meant for everybody, noisy kids included.
    You think it’s hard listening to the scream for five minutes.
    Try being the mom and dealing with it 24/7 without a break. Mom’s don’t get days off.
    How bout try making the kid laugh next time rather than saying rude things to their mother.

  • Well, if I hear a screaming child and I see that the parent is doing their best to find out WHY the kid is so upset and then try to pacify them, I’m not annoyed. I actually feel bad for the poor parent 🙁

    However, if the kid is screaming their head off and the parent is just sitting there, it gets annoying.

  • @ThA_sLo_1@xanga – The fact that you didn’t act that way as a child is one thing… had you been autistic, things would have been very different.  If you do eventually have an autistic child you’ll learn that teaching an autistic child differs very much from teaching a non-autistic child.  They will not comprehend you nor the need to stay quiet, no matter how hard you try to make them understand. 

    I don’t enjoy hearing a child scream, either.  Nobody does.  However, if it’s a child with autism, while I may not like the screaming, I don’t hold it over their head, nor do I hold it over the parents’ heads.  It’s not their fault that the child is screaming. 

    I don’t have an autistic child, but I have a friend who does.  I feel for her, it has to be so very difficult to get through each day knowing that her child may very well need assistance during her whole life.  To add ignorant people to the stress that she already has makes it even more unbearable.

  • After working for two years in special day classes with various disabilities, including autism, I have a lot of compassion for parents trying to provide a good life for their kids.  It really isn’t better to leave your child at home.  It depends, but you can often tell the difference between children who have parents honestly trying to make the best life for their children, and embarrassed, confused, or even selfish parents who want to scrape by doing the least possible, being noticed the least.  I am no expert, but I have seen the difference.

    I applaud each of you for trying to do the best for your child.

  • @Short_N_Feisty@xanga –   I use a picture reward system where my son knows he is working for a preferred snack or activity.  He has to earn 5 stickers on any outing before he can earn what he wants.  He is 13 but only has 2 year old verbal skills.  He is a visual learner so he understands the sticker reward system and we’ve been successful with it for years.  I never take him “shopping” It’s no fun for any child.    I feel sorry for the 2 year old in the stroller all day while mommy looks for that perfect blouse. 

    Trips to the grocery store are a necessity but we carfully pre-plan with a list of items we need and I engage him by having him push the cart and locate the items on the shelf.  This keeps him distracted enough so he doesn’t have an anxiety attack but if he’s having a rough time and “looses it” we are not hanging around because that’s no fun for me.  As long as he gets a heads up he is pretty good.  Pre-planning and predictability are key.  It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it in the long run.

    I’m not a fan of the snappy come-back or the cards that say such things.  Someone that has said something to you in the heat of the moment is not ready or willing to be educated about anything and he’s not likely to sign that petition waiting outside for him either 🙂

  • @mycontinuity@xanga – If instant praise works because they know exactly why they’re being praised works, then why doesn’t instant punishment so they know exactly why they’re being punished work? Or saying “You can’t have dessert tonight because you kicked your brother” Doesn’t that tell them why they’re being punished? Or better yet saying, “No you can’t have dessert tonight, do you know why that is?” Until they understand that kicking their brother=no dessert?

    (I don’t know if that came across badly, but it’s a legitimate question.. I don’t have a lot of experience with autistic children so I really don’t know.)

  • @dikdoktor@xanga – @out_of_fear@xanga – 

    We’re all human beings, correct? Kids throwing fits in public places are no less human or less worthy than you. That goes for the parents, too.
    I know it sucks to have a kid throw a fit when you’re trying to have a nice time, but you don’t have to be so harsh about it. Some parents really do have it rough with their kids, and still want to have a semi-normal life (which includes trying to give their kid the most normal life possible under the circumstances). Please, cut them some slack.

  • @dikdoktor@xanga – I’m sorry to say this (it may sound cruel) but in that scene, with the two possibly unruly children (maybe they have autism, but that is not my point here) jumping around in muddy boots while their mother is smoking a cigarette and doing nothing about it, you too are partially guilty for the pain caused by standing for a longer period of time.
    (Did it sound cruel?)

    Yes, people are ignorant in comparison to before, but in such cases you must, if not ask, then demand from the mother to make her children move aside (they can play elsewhere) so that you could sit (always carry a plastic bag onto which you could sit – works on rainy days, I tell you) – with a motion of your head or hands, incline that you have not one, but two canes.

    Ever thought that she maybe didn’t notice you?
    I too must sit, due to my spine (I won’t go into detail, that is unnecessary), and while I sit, I read a book or listen to music and think about something, so I do not notice my surroundings at all. Even though I have backpain from standing (despite the best shoes) I have more strength for standing than other disabled persons (such as you, walking on canes) or seniors, so when one shows up, I do stand up, but I most certainly do not have eyes on my back! If an old woman or man is behind me, I will not stand up, because I can’t see them! If they ask me, I will stand up – if someone points them out, I will stand up, otherwise, I’ll continue sitting and reading my book. I don’t ignore you, you’re out of my eyes’ reach.

    So, I advise you, in cases as the one with the mother smoking and possibly not giving a damn about or ignoring you, ask politely and she will either say yes or no – if negative, explain in an assertive (not aggressive – that will give a counter-effect) tone about your condition and she will probably do something. If she still does nothing, just continue demanding (assertive, not aggressive).

    And now to all whose calm has been disturbed by children’s wailing, screaming and whatnot – please, I ask of you, try to imagine yourself in the shoes of the parent. Did you? If yes, then you will feel uneasy, embarrassed, if not, pressured by the fact you all too well know that your child is disturbing the audience (which didn’t want to be the audience in the first place, which is just another ton on your back), and you will feel those numerous glares and whispers and comments about you and your child.

    Please, ignore the children and continue with your life – I know, ‘while you were small you couldn’t do this and that’ – dear Lord, forget that, scratch it; don’t bicker, don’t comment, don’t glare, don’t talk about that ‘monster of a child’ – you’re making it harder for the parent and so prolonging the screaming and your own torture – children can pick up such hostile ‘vibes’ in a way that we cannot comprehend. (should I deem it as torture? In my opinion, no, and you may disagree with me – we’re in a free land after all)

    If you are still bothered, ask them politely to take their child out and finish the meltdown (or whichever term you prefer to use) outside, and don’t use sentences such as ‘Why can’t you control your (screaming) child?’. What other than a snappy comeback can you expect from an attacked person? Yes, with that sentence, you are questioning their parental skills (if you truly are doing that, keep it to yourself) and so attacking them. Apology? Would you apologize if someone attacked you? No, you would probably defend yourself (if agitated by the question, then you would defend yourself rather aggressively), of course, if you had the balls to do it. If not, ah well, I am sorry and keep on living your life as a spine-less coward.

    Bye-bye, may we not kill each other here.

  • If your kid acts up in public, he is pissing everyone off. And yes, it is the fault of you and your child. Take him to the park, chuck-e-cheeses, or a sound-proof chamber, just do not bother the rest of us. I could really care less what is causing your kid’s meltdown, whether he is retarded or just swallowed a razor, I just don’t want to be affected by it. Should I blow second-hand cigarette smoke into your face and come up with a snarky comeback when you complain? You should be coming up with an apology list, not this.

  • As long as you are trying to control the situation, there should be no rude comments.  However, if the parent is clearly not doing anything and letting their child scream, they deserve the criticism.  Autism or not, a child should not be allowed to scream and disrupt others’ peace.  

  • Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I do not think that having to endure a screaming child is all that terrible. It’s so easy to just tune out the noise, and go on with my business. It actually kind of surprises me that people would actually go up to you and tell you to control your child, especially when you’re obviously attempting to do just that. To me, that is quite rude.

    I like most of these; they’re quick and to-the-point. People don’t need to intrude upon a situation that really has nothing to do with them. Their ears will live; the time they’re bothered by the crying can probably be contained within minutes. I guess it just bugs me when people complain when a parent is clearly trying to do his or her best. It’s like, nothing is ever good enough for some people. O.o”

  • The problem is that from the outside perspective… you’re just another parent with a bratty child you don’t care enough to control. There are so many worthless parents who can’t be bothered to discipline thier children out there… I would think it would be more effective to just say #1 and move on about your business (who says you need to continue talking to them afterwards?) rather than just let them think you’re a shitty parent and have them request employees harass you about your child and whether or not you’d maybe like to take him outside until he calms down.

  • @I_choke_you@xanga – <3 the “Please help me parent my child”. Children scream and throw tantrums all the time, austic or not. People need to learn to mind their business. It’s not too unbearable when a child goes off on of theirs. If anything its more annoying for the parent then a bystander.

    I personally would never say anything to a parent. Thats none of my business. and unless its a newborn I think the parent should just let them “work it out” on their own.

  • @out_of_fear@xanga – While I agree that a screaming child is not a pleasant situation to be around, there are MUCH more polite ways of getting your point across than saying “why can’t you control your child.” What does that solve? It only serves to antagonize. People often don’t realize that they would accomplish so much more by just being polite, i.e. “could you please take your child outside until he quiets?” I don’t think anyone enjoys being questioned about their parenting skills, especially in such a confrontational manner. So yes, I think that if someone were so immature as to word it like that they deserve something not so nice in response. I don’t know about you, but my parents did not raise me mannerless. I would never talk that way to someone even if they disturbed my peace first. 

  • i find it seriously annoying when im with my friends, family, or my boyfriend, having a good time, and a parent doesnt take control of her childs antics. in the summer, i work constantly. during the school year, i still work constantly and i make it to school everyday- sick or not. so when i do have the chance to go out with my boyfriend or anyone for that matter, i dont wanna be disrupted. and the fact that half of parents dont do anything to control their kids AT ALL bothers me so much. my parents never let me and my sister get away with acting like animals in public, or at home for that matter. but it is so sad that a lot of parents today dont make it a point to control their kids’ bad behavior.

  • @The_Melancholy@xanga – Because they just know they’re being punished but don’t know why. They don’t know which action (out all the actions they did) caused it. All they think about is the punishment. It’s like if you were walking down the street and some random person starting beating you up and then walked away. You’re going to think about the beating first, and not what you did to cause it–which could have been anything because you don’t know that person (yeah, it’s a bad example, but I’m tired)

    With praise, it’s instant and you know which action got the praise. They want to do it again for the praise. It’s easier to process. Children under the age of two can understand praise, but not cause and effect until they’re older. With autistic kids, it varies.

  • How annoying.

    Really, why do people expect everyone to be concerned about their comfort. Obviously its not so god damn easy to be the one dealing with the screaming child. And the last thing on a parents mind when their child is having a serious meltdown is how “uncomfortable” the people around them are..

    I would just ignore them.

  • Disability or not, all
    children have meltdowns… Any child has the right to be in public, just
    as you have the right to remove yourself from any situation that seems to be
    irritating to you. This confirms to me that our children are discriminated
    against because they ‘look’ normal; our children have neurological disabilities
    that prevent them from understanding many societal constructs. In order to
    teach these life skills it is imperative that we take them out in public. I have
    a difficult time accepting that a mother would use autism as a scape goat for
    lazy parenting…. walk a day in our shoes; autism is a medical condition that
    requires constant vigilance! 

  • @CMWINK@xanga – Exactly. I like kids, and understand they all can be a handful at times. Everything you said is perfectly logical and it’s only common courtesy to remove a child from a place that is disrupting others. When I was a kid if I made one peep at the wrong time or in the wrong place, I’d get a good smack in the lips. No screwing around. I sat in church with my hands in my lap, no fidgeting or squirming about and not whispering. In a restaurant – anywhere, the same thing. My old man would say, “Sit up straight mister”  and that’s all.
    The other day I walked to our bus stop where a woman was smoking and her 2 kids were jumping all over the bus seat with muddy boots. I’m disabled, use 2 canes and had to stand up for 15 minutes til the bus came because she wouldn’t tell the kids to get off so I could sit down. I was in a lot of pain, nobody gave a shit. But, that’s just the way a lot of ignorant people are these days.

  • @dikdoktor@xanga – Agreed.  As long as the mother or father tries to take the child somewhere else till they can calm them down more, it’s not so bad.  I just hate when it becomes an excuse to let the child do whatever they want, screaming or running around.  The screaming and disruption can be dealt with just like any other child, it’s just going to take more patience to take him or her elsewhere to deal with it though. 

    I’m not saying, “don’t take your kids out in public” but saying that if you do and they start disrupting the peace in a place, have the decency to remove them to somewhere else and then try to calm them down. 

  • @out_of_fear@xanga – I agree. If a kid is upsetting everyone around, why should so many others have to put up with it. Autism or not, that’s thoughtless and rude. I’ve read some people, use autism as an excuse for looking after their kids poorly. Would you take this kid to church when you know he’s going to act up? I doubt it. If I decide to go out and blow 200 bucks on a nice dinner with my girlfriend the last thing I want to hear is some screaming brat. A little decency and common sense goes a long way. I doubt I’ll be back to this site. 

  • Anonymous

    I think the important part of this message is the top- She made it clear that she as the childs parent is already working on taking control of the situation and it is highly uncalled for, for rude strangers to chime in with their two cents that she didn’t ask for.

    And not that I have to explain myself to a person like you, but, if you noticed, I caught my error and corrected it before your comment was even left. Although, I wasn’t aware a grammatical error on my part (or perhaps your incorrect spelling of “probably”) was degrading or immature. Oh, and I’m sure the Marines are so fortunate to be able to call you, such a respectful and understanding citizen, one of their own.

    Have a good night.

  • No, since she has a child wth a disability, she should probavly realize that her kid might not be able to go places like quiet restraunts, movie theatres, or other places people enjoy the peace. Did I say she can’t take her kid grocery shopping? No. (Though  I don’t want to hear your kid’s grating screams there, either)

    And the fact that I’m a 21 year old US Marine, and you can’t properly punctuate the variations of the word ‘your’ leads me to believe I’m on the winning side of the “degrading remarks” debate.

  • Anonymous

    @out_of_fear@xanga – Ha, you prove my point precisely. So since her child has a disability that they had no control over, she should just keep that child in her home all the time? She didn’t say they were in a quite movie theater or at a nice restraunt eating. This was about strangers rudely commenting on a situation they’re either uneducated about or simply just don’t understand. I’m sure this mom was doing what she could to accomodate the situation. It’s nobody else’s place to comment on her parenting.

    And your degrading remarks to me only make you look as immature and “pretentious” as you deem me to be. Oh, and you’re not so good at guessing ages, so if your lack of respect and maturity lands you a job at the county fair, make sure to stay away from the age guessing game. 😉

  • @writemetosleeep@xanga – Indeed! The disrespect of pretentious 16 year old girls is astounding!

    No, of course I didn’t realize a kid who’s mom posts on AUTISABLE about a screaming AUTISTIC child would have AUTISM. The mere possibility escapes me.

    Maybe I should have added “I don’t care what your kid has…Just because he’s got autism doesn’t give you the right to interrupt my night out with his wailing.” into my comment.

  • Anonymous

    @out_of_fear@xanga – Did you not catch the part that her child has autism? You should probably pay attention to what you’re reading before commenting on it.

    Good post, it amazes me the disrespect some people can have. As if they think they have the right to comment on your parenting.

  • Or you could say,”I’m sorry that my child’s disablity has momentarily caused you grief.”

    @out_of_fear@xanga – If you’ve ever been around a child with autism, this isn’t an option. You have to take them out in public or they’ll be worse socially when they grow up. My cousin has autism and she spent the whole day screaming/crying. If they had kept her out of public she wouldn’t be able to function in public as an adult. @ThA_sLo_1@xanga – Children with autism don’t understand cause and affect punishment, so spanking and yelling has no effect–sometimes it makes it worse. You can’t “let them know” that they’ve been bad. They won’t get it. All you can do is ignore the bad behavior and praise them when they do something good. They way they think is completely different.

  • …the “i’m deaf’ thing is epic.

    When my mother and I go out with Austin and Hayden, well, everyone can tell it’s autism. I don’t know, there’s just a vibe.

    Or maybe its the autism sticker on austin’s stroller.

  • I can’t stand when women let their children scream in stores, I’ve worked in retail, and I’ve shopped and I cannot stand it. If I had a kid that was going crazy like some of the kids I’ve seen, I would yank them outside and make sure they KNOW not to act like that in public…I never did that crap as a child, and I don’t expect my child, if I ever have one, to either.

  • How about you just keep your screaming kid out of public? Or, when he IS out in public and starts wailing, how about you take him outside of the restraunt, movie theatre, or store until he stops bursting my ear drums? SInce you (via your kid) are the one screwing up everyone else’s calm, you shouldn’t be the one coming up with “snappy comebacks”, you should be the one apologizing.

  • I usually just use #1.  Believe or not, that usually shuts them up… I’ve been asked one or two questions every once in awhile, but usually the meltdowns happen while we’re grocery shopping, so other people understand that I need to move along.  And we’re in the military, so I’m often grocery shopping alone with two toddlers…. not much choice there.

  • I actually had some guy in a grocery store walk up to me and say, “In my day, parents put kids like yours in institutions…where they belong.”  My response?  “Then why aren’t you in one right now?”

    I can shrug off stares and glares.  I welcome questions when they are in the form of curiosity.  I can even deal with whispers, most of the time.  There just comes a point where I feel a need to point out that my son’s behavior isn’t any worse than that of the willfully ignorant and hostile. 

  • How ’bout some not-so-nice comments that you’d REALLY like to say (not that they would help or be beneficial to anyone) like “S/he doesn’t like you, would you go away?”  Or “S/he’s more well behaved than I’m sure YOU were at this age.”  Or silliness like “We’re practicing the difference between singing and screaming, my little future opera star and I.”  Or very unBiblically, return rude for rude with “I’m sorry, I forgot to take that sign off my back that says “Please help me parent my child”.” or less creatively, “I’ll join him in screaming if one more person asks me that question again!”

    I don’t think I ever really would use a line like those, but it would make me feel better to think it in my head.  I hope those outsider comments, just go away.  They won’t, but we can hope, right?

  • I just think that adults tend to act more like kids sometimes.  At least that’s been my experience with my son.

    Patience is key…no matter what.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *