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Old 07-27-2006, 10:38 PM   #1
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how would you respond to this question?

So, if you had an extremely adorable almost 7 year old girl in a wheelchair who really didnt move alot (but smiled and giggled tons!) and some one asked you

"what is wrong with her"

what would you say? This question really bugs me. IMO its just dripping with negativity and judgement. She is not 'wrong' or 'bad' because she is different.

I get this question alot and it is usually followed by alot of staring. It is always asked with dd with me, so I cant react terribly harshly, but at the same time I dont want dd to think its ok for people to say things like that to her. She understand what is going on but she is always ignored like she is invisible when I am asked this stupid question.

This afternoon some girl around 11 asked me and I just gave her a dirty look and said nothing. She stared for like 5 minutes and was seriously really rude when asking. I would have liked to respond better. Little children have never asked me in a rude way its mostly older children and adults.

So, can you mamas help me think of a better response that doesnt leave me enraged and shaking?
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Old 07-27-2006, 10:45 PM   #2
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Re: how would you respond to this question?

From an 11yo, honestly, I don't think she meant anything bad, ya know? Kids are NATURALLY curious, and I'm sure she just wanted to know why she was in the wheelchair. Sure it could have been asked in a more positive way, but I really don't think most people mean any harm when asking something that way - they just don't think about it from your perspective before opening their mouths.

HOWEVER, the perfect response would be "What's wrong with YOU - that was rather rude!!" Ok, that might be a tad bit mean, but there's no reason you can't fire right back
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Old 07-27-2006, 11:01 PM   #3
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Re: how would you respond to this question?

I agree with the above poster. Kids are naturally curious. I know I had a TERRIBLE starring problem when I was little. My mom told me about a time we were in the mall and there was a girl with no arms and I said LOUDLY "HOW COME THAT GIRL HAS NO ARMS?" I didnt mean anything by it I was just a kid (maybe 5 or 6) and honestly wanted to know WHY!

Heck, even as an adult I wonder what is wrong with some people - but I would never in my life say anything and I always give a nice and meaning full smiles to people so they know I'm not in any way judging them by their appearence.

I cant imagine how hard it must be to deal with people starring at you or being rude to you about having a child who is a little different than others!
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Old 07-27-2006, 11:04 PM   #4
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Re: how would you respond to this question?

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Originally Posted by OneFabMama
I agree with the above poster. Kids are naturally curious. I know I had a TERRIBLE starring problem when I was little. My mom told me about a time we were in the mall and there was a girl with no arms and I said LOUDLY "HOW COME THAT GIRL HAS NO ARMS?" I didnt mean anything by it I was just a kid (maybe 5 or 6) and honestly wanted to know WHY!

lol!!! See as a mom I wouldnt mind this at all coming from a child. There is no malice or rudeness in that, just genuine curiousity. I dont mind that in the slightest and am happy to answer any questions like that. its the ones that have negative implications like "what is wrong with her" that bug me.

I guess I am being too sensitive. i am sure your right in that she ment no harm. But I am thinking back to the look on her face and the tone in her voice and I was bothered. I was also bothered that her parent obviously though nothing of her saying things in that way. Had she asked why she was in the wheelchair Celeste and I would have been more than happy to answer!
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Old 07-27-2006, 11:10 PM   #5
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Re: how would you respond to this question?

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Originally Posted by sesa70
lol!!! See as a mom I wouldnt mind this at all coming from a child. There is no malice or rudeness in that, just genuine curiousity. I dont mind that in the slightest and am happy to answer any questions like that. its the ones that have negative implications like "what is wrong with her" that bug me.

I guess I am being too sensitive. i am sure your right in that she ment no harm. But I am thinking back to the look on her face and the tone in her voice and I was bothered. I was also bothered that her parent obviously though nothing of her saying things in that way. Had she asked why she was in the wheelchair Celeste and I would have been more than happy to answer!
I didnt mean to sound like youre being too sensitive. I can GARUNTEE I would be the same way - especially if there was rudeness behind her comment and I think a 8+ year old would understand that everyone is different and something there are people born with disabilities.
It's sad that we live in a world where that is weird, or something.
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Old 07-27-2006, 11:05 PM   #6
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Re: how would you respond to this question?

Our middle daughter has CP and I always get those questions. Even though Sophie can walk for very short distances her gait is very very different.

I always feel better to tell whoever is asking exactly what makes her different. I'm not sure why,but to me it's just better then giving a generic answer

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Old 07-27-2006, 11:09 PM   #7
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Re: how would you respond to this question?

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Originally Posted by WearingTaci
Our middle daughter has CP and I always get those questions. Even though Sophie can walk for very short distances her gait is very very different.

I always feel better to tell whoever is asking exactly what makes her different. I'm not sure why,but to me it's just better then giving a generic answer

Sarah
I guess I do understand this. Honestly, its like a slap in the face sometimes though. Here is this happy child playing at the museum, being cute and having fun, minding her own buisness, and all that is stopped b/c someone asks a question and cant stop staring. The staring got so bad that Celeste and I both got uncomfortable and left the exibit b/c she just would not stop.

I know I should have had more patience, but I was just so annoyed. I know kids dont usually know any better. But still, I dont think I would like my child asking in such a way.
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Old 07-27-2006, 11:17 PM   #8
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Re: how would you respond to this question?

I totally understand your feelings. I did have that happen once with Soph. Finally in a fairly loud rude voice I told Ian(her brother)to "STOP STARING AT THE FISH,IT"S RUDE AND MAKES ME LOOK LIKE A BAD PARENT"
Needless to say something was done right then and there by the childs parent.
I admit it wasn't the best way to handle it,but it did get the results I wanted without making a major scene

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sesa70
I guess I do understand this. Honestly, its like a slap in the face sometimes though. Here is this happy child playing at the museum, being cute and having fun, minding her own buisness, and all that is stopped b/c someone asks a question and cant stop staring. The staring got so bad that Celeste and I both got uncomfortable and left the exibit b/c she just would not stop.

I know I should have had more patience, but I was just so annoyed. I know kids dont usually know any better. But still, I dont think I would like my child asking in such a way.

Last edited by Sarah; 07-27-2006 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 07-27-2006, 11:03 PM   #9
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Re: how would you respond to this question?

My dd is 10 and while she is totally nice some of the girls she goes to school with aren't. They are snotty and stare and ask horrid personal questions.

The look they give sometimes is one of "ohh I'm creeped out, what's with her?" right?

Yeah, I know that. My sister gets those ALL THE TIME because she had cancer when she was around 4 yo. Now she's 32 and kids and teens as well as adults are MEAN to her. Most of the time it's staring. Fine, I can ignore that. But when those 11-16 yo kids look and make comments or ask ?'s that I become offended. My sis is used to the stares after all of these years but cannot get past the kids who say stuff.

Now, not all children are like this. If they don't have that "look" and are just plain faced and ask then that is NORMAL. They want to know what's wrong because they have no experience they can look back on and say "oh, my so and so was in a wheel chair too" or "I saw such and such on tv and the person on the show had that". They simply have never seen it or heard of it and they want to know what happened.

And, on top of that, they really don't know that asking is rude because to them they are being honest. Kids don't know that honest curiosity can come off as hurtful or rude.

So, 2 different possibilities for what the situation was for you today. I will say that your emotions are very NORMAL for either situation because as a mother we want to protect our children. We don't want them to know that ppl are acting like that to them/about them. Celeste knows whats up and you are totally correct when you feel defensive when these things happen. You don't want ppl to do it and you want to say something to get them to back off. The best advice I can give you is to smile and say some round about answer like "Her name is Celeste and she is a princess and this is her throan."

Now, I can always give it but I myself find it hard to do it myself because my sister ends up in tears over the things that ppl say and do to her and I want to kick their *ss for making her feel that way. I tend to get so mad I stare back or ask them to take a picture so they can take it home with them. LOL

Sometimes a look back at them is the best medicine. BUT, because these ppl stare so hard at my sis I have to step in front of her so it breaks the stare JUST to stare back at the person. PPL are rude. They don't realize that they are staring for over 10 seconds and that it's painful to the ppl they are looking at, kwim? They get caught up in it and their thoughts.

(((HUGS))) to you because this is something that you deal with every day and it's not easy.
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Last edited by Bare Bottom Gear; 07-27-2006 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 07-27-2006, 11:05 PM   #10
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Re: how would you respond to this question?

From a kid, it's different.

they are curious, and do not naturally possess tact. Children are wonderful, straightforward beings, with no thoughts of being "politically correct" or tactful. Unless they have been TAUGHT (which clearly, many haven't) to have tact. So really, it's not the kids fault...it's the kid's parents fault for not teaching their kid basic manners.

I'd say something like "nothing is WRONG with her, but she does have some medical problems which make her different. But, she really loves to (insert activity here) though" Or something like that. I know it's hard, but only by modeling kindness, sensitivity and proper behavior can children learn. Being snippy and giving glaring, angry looks to kids who don't know any better...well, that's rude. And *you* know better. Not trying to be harsh here, I completely understand being angry, and personally have quite a temper myself...but come on...they're kids.

On the other hand. If they are adults, or an older child that is clearly not just tactless, but deliberately being cruel or offensive, I would not hesitate to be harsh with them.
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