Giving in to your child’s special needs


The scene: McDonald’s. My husband just picked me up from the airport (I went to the Blissdom conference in Nashville), and we’re eager to down lunch. We walk in, and Max makes a beeline for a corner table he likes to sit at. Max has this thing about tables at restaurants: At the handful of ones we go to, he has a specific favorite table. For him, familiarity breeds comfort; new places, with their hustle and bustle, unnerve him.

Problem: A dad and his little girl are seated at the table. Max goes right up to them, gestures at the table and says “MAX!” loudly. I run up to him and grab him. I notice another dad, seated at the adjacent table with his two kids, staring.

“No, Max, they’re at that table. We can’t sit here today,” I say. I apologize to the dad and daughter. Then I pick him up and carry him to the counter where my husband is ordering food.

Max squirms and whines. I put him down and before I know it, he is making a mad dash for that table again. Only the dad and daughter have gotten up and moved to another table.

They smile at us, kindly, as Max victoriously takes a seat at his table. I mouth “Thank you.”

The dad seated at the next table shoots me a look. I am not sure what this look means, but it seems to say, “You shouldn’t be giving in to your kid like that.” Or maybe that is my own guilty conscience at play, I’m not sure. Because I really do have qualms about what’s just happened.

I don’t want Max to grow up to be a spoiled kid who thinks the world will just cater to him. At the same time, he does have special needs and there has to be some flexibility. If that guy hadn’t switched tables, we probably would have had to take the kids to the car and eat there because.

This sort of situation is something that stumps me again and again and again. And boy, I would really welcome your thoughts.

Ellen blogs daily at To The Max

13 Responses to Giving in to your child’s special needs