Sometimes Parenting Requires Ruthlessness

I just watched a young dad fiercely defend his 10 year old autistic son on the bus a foot away from me. Wow. His love for his son brought some tears to my eyes. The boy was in the seats reserved for elders- doing no harm looking out the window happily- when an older man walked on and started yelling at him to get off the seat and didn’t he know who those were for. The thing was, there were free seats all over that section and it was like he was just angry and picked the nearest kid to take out his frustrations on. The dad stood in front of his son and yelled at the man in full voice: “Do not talk to my son that way.” He was almost growling and I thought for sure it was going to go to fistacuffs. He matched that older man’s energy until he backed down and went to find another seat. The bus was silent. When the man and his son got off the bus, his gentleness with his son, who was non-verbal, was palpable as he softly redirected his son when he was going the wrong direction: “This way, babe.” It saddens me that adults feel they have a right to speak to children in this manner when most would not dream of approaching another adult in this way. I’ve seen many parents back down, apologize for their children, or then yell at their children in response to such bullying from other adults. It was so refreshing to see a parent take a stand for their child without apology. I was so honoured to be present to witness this act of being ruthless in the light on behalf of another human being who could not stand for himself. So thank you to that man and his lovely son. What a powerful lesson today.

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