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#1 Copacetic

Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:28 PM

Its Rude to Stare

This article on Mama Mia seems to have quite a few people up in arms and I'm just wondering what people here thing?

I'm obviously on the side of agreeing with the writer - this sort of article is what a lot of people ask for - "How do I treat disabled children and their carer's" and its all there in black and white.  Please do this, please don't do that.  Not politely - it was clearly written when she'd had enough - but still, well thought out and well written.  

Curious about opinions here on EB regarding it.

#2 niggles

Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:39 PM

It was clear and concise. I found the tone a little patronising but it seemed to be grounded in frustration rather than malicious intent so it didn't worry me.

One thing I noticed is she expects others to behave in a certain way and address her in a certain way, according to her own standards but wasn't happy to do the same thing for the support group that asked her to use certain terminology. I found that a little contradictory that she would set a series of 'this is how it's universally done' guidelines when she herself has encountered universal guidelines that just don't apply to her. So I'm not sure how much she speaks for people with disabilities and how much she just speaks for herself. I'd assume the latter and welcome her insights.

The end. original.gif

#3 Feral Nicety

Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:44 PM

She is only saying that people need to treat her and her child the same way as they treat other people, not prescribing how she is spoken to.

The trisomy 21 nonsense is just about nomenclature and is silly.  Both terms are correct so it was a strange thing to insist on.

#4 Jax12

Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:50 PM

Clearly the tone is one of frustration and at times I felt a bit like a scolded child, but I totally agree with the sentiment of the article.  

One thing stood out for me in regards to when her child is behaving badly:
QUOTE
Please do not react sympathetically, like using a smile-with-head-tilt.

I do this to any parent I see with a kid playing up, just as I appreciate the same from others when DS is having a meltdown in the middle of Coles.  I much prefer it to the death glares and I interpret it as being understanding, not condescending.  But then I don't have to deal with staring, rudeness and insensitive comments so don't have a (justified) chip on my shoulder about these kinds of looks.  shrug.gif

#5 Cat People

Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:51 PM

QUOTE
How to behave around a person with a disability? As you would a person without a disability.


Sounds like common sense to me.  Why would people be huffy about that?  I thought it was  concise and polite enough.  

I didn't find the tone patronising but I do agree with Niggles about her reaction to the support group being contrary.

#6 niggles

Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:53 PM

QUOTE (Balzac @ 31/01/2013, 12:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
She is only saying that people need to treat her and her child the same way as they treat other people, not prescribing how she is spoken to.

The trisomy 21 nonsense is just about nomenclature and is silly.  Both terms are correct so it was a strange thing to insist on.


I get that and understood her objection. I just thought it was a good example that people with disabilities can have diverse opinions about how they'd like to be treated in the same way any group of people can.

I should add, since you sort of asked, that I'm suprised people would take issue with it. I didn't see anything provoking in it. Maybe I'm looking for content that might have led to controversy.

Edited by niggles, 31 January 2013 - 02:54 PM.


#7 erindiv

Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:53 PM

I think it's toeing a very fine line between respecting the person with the disability and alienating them further.

Saying "Don't let your child stare," is a bit odd. What are we supposed to do, put our hand over our child's eyes? But that would be offensive then, I suppose, because we're treating the person with the disability like some kind of monster, some horrible being we don't want our child to look at.

Telling your child "I have no idea" or "It's none of our business" only serves to further leave your child thinking that this other person is 'different', and not in a good way. What's wrong with educating children on people with disabilities? Are we supposed to brush all these disabilities under the proverbial rug and act, to our children, like there is no such thing as disabled people?

"When they misbehave, react as you would with any other mother and child". But apparently a sympathetic smile-and-head-tilt is a no no. Well, that's my standard reaction to someone else's child misbehaving. What am I supposed to do? She says what NOT to do, but not what TO do.

I also don't understand her reluctance to use the term Trisomy 21. It doesn't take seriousness away from her son's diability. It's just a word, FGS.



Saying that everyone should act the same around a person with a disability as they would with a person without one is easier said than done. People who haven't had much experience with people with disabilities are naturally going to feel awkward (especially if their parents have constantly covered their eyes, told them not to look and that disability is none of their business). When people act differently, it might just be because they don't know what to do, especially if the person with the disability does something that might alarm them or embarress them. Not everyone is good at putting on a smile and acting normal.


The whole article has an angry, defensive tone about it. I do see the point she is trying to get across, I really do. But sometimes it is not just as simple as "acting normal". Some people can do it. Some can't. And it's unfair to place judgement on someone who might feel awkward and act 'wrong' in these situations.

#8 Copacetic

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:00 PM

QUOTE
Saying "Don't let your child stare," is a bit odd. What are we supposed to do, put our hand over our child's eyes? But that would be offensive then, I suppose, because we're treating the person with the disability like some kind of monster, some horrible being we don't want our child to look at.

Telling your child "I have no idea" or "It's none of our business" only serves to further leave your child thinking that this other person is 'different', and not in a good way. What's wrong with educating children on people with disabilities? Are we supposed to brush all these disabilities under the proverbial rug and act, to our children, like there is no such thing as disabled people?


But can't you help them to learn about disability whilst also encouraging them to not stare?

#9 erindiv

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:05 PM

QUOTE (Copacetic @ 31/01/2013, 04:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But can't you help them to learn about disability whilst also encouraging them to not stare?



It's hard to get kids not to stare. It's what they do. But then she says "It's none of our business". Thereby closing the communication lines re disabilities and what they're all about.

#10 Feral Nicety

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:08 PM

I've got zero difficulty with judging people who choose to see people with disability as other and different and who can justify feeling 'wrong' or 'awkward' around them.

It's a choice to see people with disability as wrong and awkward if they are provoking feelings like that in you and it's up to you to sort out why you think it's OK to do that.

Also if your child is so badly socialised and so cushioned from normal society that they stare at people with disabilities, just consider what you would do or say if they stared or were openly rude to people of colour?  Would you be comfortable with saying nothing because it might imply there is something wrong with the person of colour or would you cover their eyes (what the christ?)?

#11 Feral Nicety

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:10 PM

'It's none of our business'

Does not mean it's OK to stare or be rude because hey, it's the way to behave when you are out in public, it means the disability is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS but being polite and rational and behaving like they are a human being is your business.

#12 Copacetic

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:13 PM

QUOTE
Does not mean it's OK to stare or be rude because hey, it's the way to behave when you are out in public, it means the disability is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS but being polite and rational and behaving like they are a human being is your business.


Exactly.  And teaching children to not stare is easy.  A hand on the shoulder with the words "Don't stare, its rude" is simple and easy to do.  Then when they ask what it is they were looking at, you explain it.  Seems pretty simple to me.

#13 MrsLexiK

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:14 PM

QUOTE (erindiv @ 31/01/2013, 03:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it's toeing a very fine line between respecting the person with the disability and alienating them further.

Saying "Don't let your child stare," is a bit odd. What are we supposed to do, put our hand over our child's eyes? But that would be offensive then, I suppose, because we're treating the person with the disability like some kind of monster, some horrible being we don't want our child to look at.

Telling your child "I have no idea" or "It's none of our business" only serves to further leave your child thinking that this other person is 'different', and not in a good way. What's wrong with educating children on people with disabilities? Are we supposed to brush all these disabilities under the proverbial rug and act, to our children, like there is no such thing as disabled people?

"When they misbehave, react as you would with any other mother and child". But apparently a sympathetic smile-and-head-tilt is a no no. Well, that's my standard reaction to someone else's child misbehaving. What am I supposed to do? She says what NOT to do, but not what TO do.


The whole article has an angry, defensive tone about it. I do see the point she is trying to get across, I really do. But sometimes it is not just as simple as "acting normal". Some people can do it. Some can't. And it's unfair to place judgement on someone who might feel awkward and act 'wrong' in these situations.
.

I do agree with this, I can think of someone I used to work with who was travelling with her SN's child and their was a much younger child starring who asked a question.  The mother said something along the lines of it is rude to stare and it is not our business.  My co-worker tells me she stepped in and told the mother "it is ok, she is a young child she only sees what she sees and she sees a difference"  The problem is that some people are going to mind, and others are not going to mind.  Perhaps it depends on the needs or disability of the child.  I don't know but I am thinking of the people I know with SN's and how I interact with them and what I have learnt they like and it is in some parts very different to some of the authors points and I am really confused.

#14 Z-girls rock

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:15 PM

QUOTE (erindiv @ 31/01/2013, 03:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Saying "Don't let your child stare," is a bit odd. What are we supposed to do, put our hand over our child's eyes? But that would be offensive then, I suppose, because we're treating the person with the disability like some kind of monster, some horrible being we don't want our child to look at.


But dont people still teach their children that it is rude to stare [at anything]?

when I was little remember an incident where I stared at a man with a disability. My grandma walked me away from the man and gave me VERY STERN words about not staring. I really got in trouble.
I still to this day remember my grandmas lesson from that day. She told me to always feel compassion for people with dissabilities because it was 'just the luck of the draw' and that I could have been born with a dissability just as easily.
from then on staring was a no-no. being compasionate was easy.

Kids are not too small to understand these things. and to act accordingly and politely in society.

#15 Feral Nicety

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:16 PM

The clue would be ' I don't know but I am thinking of the people I know with SN's'.  The people you know with disability.

She's talking about random rude muppets out in public.

#16 FeralBob!

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:19 PM

Exactly. Just like it's none of my business if I see a toddler having a meltdown. I'm not going to make a big issue of either and point and stare because its not polite. And that is what I teach DD, that fundamentally, it is not polite to stare at people, for whatever reason.

#17 erindiv

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:20 PM

QUOTE (Balzac @ 31/01/2013, 04:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've got zero difficulty with judging people who choose to see people with disability as other and different and who can justify feeling 'wrong' or 'awkward' around them.

It's a choice to see people with disability as wrong and awkward if they are provoking feelings like that in you and it's up to you to sort out why you think it's OK to do that.

Also if your child is so badly socialised and so cushioned from normal society that they stare at people with disabilities, just consider what you would do or say if they stared or were openly rude to people of colour?  Would you be comfortable with saying nothing because it might imply there is something wrong with the person of colour or would you cover their eyes (what the christ?)?



People may feel awkward around someone with a disability just as they feel awkward around a man if they're not around men often. If they don't know what to do or say, they might feel awkward. It doesn't mean they see the person with a disability as 'wrong', it just means they don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by saying/doing something wrong.

Very young children might find it hard not to stare - DD stares at lots of people for lots of reasons. She's 3. It's what she does. So what do you do with an impulsive 3yo who is staring? How do you stop them? You can try to turn them away or distract them, but apparently that's bad form too. If DD asked me why someone was a different colour I would tell her that some people have different coloured skin. I wouldn't say "That's none of our business." Aren't we supposed to be educating our kids?

Wouldn't it be better to quietly say "Some people look/behave differently, if you point or stare it can make them uncomfortable"? It's none of our business literally means "It is none of our business why they look/act that way." Which, to a child, means "You don't need to know."

#18 Cat People

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:21 PM

This is what the author said in regards to "none of your business" (my bold)

QUOTE
Do not stare, it is rude. Do not allow your child to stare. If your child asks you a question or comments on the disability, answer it. Do not get embarrassed and run away, that is disrespectful to us. A simple ‘I have no idea’ or ‘it’s none of our business’ would suffice. I would prefer you tried to explain it rather than just ignore us.


I think she's saying if you really can't think of anything to say, as a last resort "I have no idea/it's not your business" will do; it is preferable to just pretending her son is not there.   That's the way I took it anyway.

#19 Jax12

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:22 PM

QUOTE (Balzac @ 31/01/2013, 01:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've got zero difficulty with judging people who choose to see people with disability as other and different and who can justify feeling 'wrong' or 'awkward' around them.

It's a choice to see people with disability as wrong and awkward if they are provoking feelings like that in you and it's up to you to sort out why you think it's OK to do that.

Also if your child is so badly socialised and so cushioned from normal society that they stare at people with disabilities, just consider what you would do or say if they stared or were openly rude to people of colour?  Would you be comfortable with saying nothing because it might imply there is something wrong with the person of colour or would you cover their eyes (what the christ?)?

I was reading nodding my head until I got the bolded part.  I think that's a bit harsh.  No matter how "well socialised" or immersed in "normal society" your child is, there's always going to be their first encounter with someone who is 'different' to their experiences so far, whether that be someone with different skin colour, a hook for a hand or in a wheelchair.  Curiosity is a natural reaction and it's up to parents to model appropriate behaviour and respond in a respectful way, but to blanket any child that stares as being poorly raised seems a bit aggressive and OTT to me.  


#20 erindiv

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:23 PM

QUOTE (Copacetic @ 31/01/2013, 04:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Exactly.  And teaching children to not stare is easy.  A hand on the shoulder with the words "Don't stare, its rude" is simple and easy to do.  Then when they ask what it is they were looking at, you explain it.  Seems pretty simple to me.



But that's not the tone at all. She says if the child asks what they were looking at, you say "none of your business". Not explain it.

I can tell DD not to stare at things a hundred times. She's not got the best impulse control. When she sees something she is curious about, she looks. How is she to know what is socially appropriate and what's not, at such a young age? It would be very confusing, at that age at least, to be told what you can and can't look at, and to be expected to get it right every time.


edit: noticed the bit about explaining it. I think if given the choice I'd say "I don't know". It's still confusing though, saying one hand hand to 'treat them as you would anyone else' but you can stand there and tell your child what is 'different' (for lack of a better word) on the spot. I'd be mortified if someone stood near me and explained to their child why I look a certain way.

Edited by erindiv, 31 January 2013 - 03:26 PM.


#21 steppy

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:25 PM

I agree with a lot of what she says but didn't end up reading the whole article because I found her a bit contradictory. I felt that she was trying to say "treat me and my child as usual" but with the proviso "unless I don't like it and then you should do something completely different". Just made me feel like, in her case, I would probably look in the other direction and not speak to her or her child, in case I did the wrong thing by her lights. Not really what she was aiming for, I suppose.

#22 Feral Nicety

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:27 PM

Good spot, Mme PT.  So she was not saying to tell your kid it was none of their business.

You know if you just assume that people with disability are people and work from there while teaching your kids basic manners, you'll be fine.  It really is that simple.

#23 Copacetic

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:33 PM

QUOTE
I can tell DD not to stare at things a hundred times. She's not got the best impulse control. When she sees something she is curious about, she looks. How is she to know what is socially appropriate and what's not, at such a young age? It would be very confusing, at that age at least, to be told what you can and can't look at, and to be expected to get it right every time.


edit: noticed the bit about explaining it. I think if given the choice I'd say "I don't know". It's still confusing though, saying one hand hand to 'treat them as you would anyone else' but you can stand there and tell your child what is 'different' (for lack of a better word) on the spot. I'd be mortified if someone stood near me and explained to their child why I look a certain way.
\

I don't think its that confusing at all.

"Don't stare"
"Why not?"
"Because its rude"
"Why is that man in a wheel chair"
...Explain the ways people can end up in a wheel chair.

If my children are staring at someone, I do exactly as above.  "Don't stare, its rude".  Not becuase its rude to stare at disabled people, but because its just rude to stare.  Full stop.

#24 Liz75

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:36 PM

QUOTE (MrsLexiK @ 31/01/2013, 04:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
.
I don't know but I am thinking of the people I know with SN's and how I interact with them and what I have learnt they like and it is in some parts very different to some of the authors points and I am really confused.


I agree with this view.

#25 9ferals

Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:37 PM

I've read better written articles, but I get where she is coming from.  She's just saying "treat my kid like all the other kids" which is a really reasonable request in my opinion!

One of the key points that came over to me was:  ".. the normal social etiquette applies.."

And that means that you treat someone with a disability just like someone else, it shouldn't have to be a hard concept to grasp.  When I meet someone with a disability I say hello without any assumptions about their ability to communicate or understand me.  Just like I do to any other person.

The staring is a bit harder, but again I think it's about "normal social etiquette" just as she says.  
I like the idea of answering questions by saying "I don't know, everyone is different" as a simple answer.  Just as you would if someone has different coloured skin or purple hair or is very tall or wearing something unusual.

(edited for spelling).

Edited by Rubybelle, 31 January 2013 - 03:38 PM.





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