Raising children is not easy… not easy at all. But raising a child with special needs comes with some unique challenges. And for Taylor Meyers, a single mother of two, raising a 4-year-old with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be pretty darn difficult sometimes—which is why her honest post about being “that mom” is going viral.
It all started when Meyers’ daughter, Sophie, was misbehaving in the checkout line for the grocery store. She was wiggling in the cart, throwing a tantrum over chips and generally making life very difficult for her mother and her infant brother. Meyers ignored Sophie, not wanting to reinforce bad behavior, but not wanting to give up on her shopping and walk out of the store.
Finally, she heard someone in line behind her say something nasty: “Oh…give her a cookie so she’ll shut up!” That’s when Meyers snapped.
“I could’ve responded in a nicer way. I could’ve explained to her that my four year old has pretty severe ADHD, I raise both my children alone, I’m doing my best, and had no choice but to wait it out for the groceries,” Meyers wrote in her now-viral post about the incident. “Instead, I heard, “she’s four years old and you need to mind your own f***ing business” come out of my mouth.”
Although most toddlers struggle with tantrums, they can be especially severe for children with ADHD. According to Understood, an organization that shines a light on learning and attention issues in children, “kids with ADHD may have trouble with impulsivity or expressing their emotions, which can lead to angry outbursts.” Cue Sophie’s grocery store meltdown.
Luckily, the story has a happy ending: As Meyers scanned her items, another woman walked up to Sophie and attempted to distract her from the chips, saying, “No, you can’t have those today. You have to be good for your mommy. She needs you to be good for her. I have a little girl just like you. How old are you? How old is brother?”
The woman ended up walking them out of the store, and Meyers was so thankful she wrote this:
“It only takes one comment to break someone down. You never know what someone’s going through. You never know the problems a child has that causes them to misbehave and unless you know the struggle of being a parent to a child like mine, you cannot judge me. But It also takes one small act of kindness to make a mama feel comfort and validation. Thank you to the woman in Walmart today, for showing that kindness to my children and I. Thank you for walking us out. Thank you for backing me up. Mamas have to stick together.”
Another Heartwarming Story Of A Stranger Stepping In
When Rochel Groner heard a young boy screaming on an eight-hour transatlantic flight from Brussels to New York, she decided to lend a helping hand.
“It wasn’t a child asking for a toy or saying my ears are hurting. It didn’t sound like he was going to cry himself to sleep,” Groner told Southern Living. She thought to herself: “He’s upset. He’s non-verbal. He has special needs.”
Groner is a former elementary school teacher and, together with her husband Bentzion, she runs the Charlotte, North Carolina-based nonprofit Friendship Circle, which matches teen volunteers with children who have special needs such as autism. She used her experience working with special needs youth to calm the boy, who she estimated to be about 8 years old.
Here’s a shot from her husband’s Facebook of Groner comforting the child.
Groner cared for the boy for an hour or two, and the rest of the flight went off without a hitch.
Groner remains humble about her good deed and hopes that her story, which has since gone viral, will inspire others to be compassionate and helpful to strangers in need.
“Everybody’s been on a flight with a screaming child, and this is another way to defuse the situation,” she says. “Just ask: is there something I can do? Smile, don’t scowl,” she told the Charlotte Observer.