Video of a boy with autism having a tantrum goes viral with people making some big assumptions
As parents, we’ve all been there. That moment where your child is having a fit and you can feel everyone’s eyes boring into you as you do all you can to calm them down. That kind of situation takes on a whole new meaning when your child has special needs and strangers in public (or online) pass judgments they have no business making.
That’s what one mom of a young boy with autism discovered after a video she uploaded went viral, garnering hundreds of comments from people judging her parenting. In the video, Amie Carter’s son Jayden was having a tantrum. It was shot in 2010, when he was only two years old, and the mom would learn shortly after that he has autism. Carter explained to SheKnows that they were leaving a restaurant because Jayden was upset about a game gone wrong.
“When we got to the restaurant, Jayden noticed the crane game, where you can win a stuffed animal. He obsessed with wanting to play it during dinner. I found five quarters to give him and told him that if he stopped bugging about it, he could use the quarters before we left. What led to it? He didn’t win anything, refused to leave, and I at least got him to the parking lot.” She had her daughter record the video as an example of Jayden’s behavior to show his doctor in order to get a diagnosis.
Facebook user Mike Steele uploaded it this past week with the caption “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” but changed his tune once he learned about the reason for Jayden’s behavior. Here is the video, which Carter uploaded to YouTube herself six years ago.
Scary Mommy asked Carter why she chose to share the video with the world to begin with, and her response is heartbreaking. “I honestly chose to post it because I was mad and frustrated with the system and its lack of support. I was mad because I had been speaking out, trying to get help.” Carter further explains that she was being told to place her son in foster care due to his behavior. She says, “I decided to be a voice and posted the video.”
That was six years ago and when Steele shared it on Facebook, he and several horrible people in the comments made the assumption that Jayden was simply ill-behaved, spoiled and in need of physical punishment and discipline. It was only after Carter contacted him to explain Jayden’s diagnosis that he retracted what he said originally.
Steele wrote, “Just by observing this mother with her son it appears that it’s a little boy misbehaving and the mother is being patient with her son. Little did I know, this little boy name is Jayden; he is diagnosed with Autism.”
Frankly, it shouldn’t have made a bit of difference. This man had no right to publicly share this mom’s video with his own uneducated guess as to why she was reacting to her son’s tantrum the way she was. Blindly judging someone else’s parenting is never a good idea. This situation shows exactly why.
He goes on to say, “Now that we know this piece of info, how would you really react to your child who’s diagnosed with Autism? We probably would have reacted the same way she did… Let this be a lesson to us all and let’s join hands to understand autism as a whole!”
Now, this little mea culpa is sort of admirable? I guess? But wouldn’t it be nice if people didn’t jump to conclusions and suggest people hit their kids based on scant information? There was absolutely no need for this man to weigh in at all, let alone decide this child needs “the rod” in order to learn better behavior. And sadly, even with Steele’s update about Jayden’s diagnosis of autism, there were still many in the comments who felt a good beating would solve it all, with one lovely specimen suggesting Carter “beat his ass until it hurts.”
I’m sorry, but what the fuck.
Who in the hell would cheer for a parent to beat their child into submission, let alone a child with special needs? It’s positively sick. Not to mention, spanking has been proven not to help with discipline outcomes anyway. And it’s no one’s place to decide that a parent should be hitting their child in order to change their behavior. It’s a personal decision that no one can make for anyone else.
This video proves it’s not only ignorant to judge someone’s parenting before you know the whole story, it’s also hurtful. We’re all doing the best we can and the truth is, we never truly know where other people are coming from. It’s a safe bet to give everyone leeway and understanding unless we have the whole story. And even then, it’s probably best to just hold your tongue.