I was that parent you may have come across today. I was the one walking in the parking lot with my 9 year old son who was attempting to, o.k., was throwing the hellatious fit because we were leaving before he was ready. He definitely lives by his own self-stirred time frame which most of the time has me questioning "is the fight even worth it?"
To me it is, how else will he learn boundaries or rules without setting guidelines? This is proving to be difficult with a child that has a touch of every single learning disability, sensory and cognitive issue, or so it seems. He may look normal to you but to me, he is special in more ways than one! He is not just a "bratty kid" trying to get his way, he is not doing this on purpose, it is who he is and I am trying the best I know how. Your stares seem as if they would be the same if he exhibited at least one physical affliction which really makes me question if he looked the part would people like you be more accepting of his demeanor?!
If you see me yelling, it's o.k., he is deaf and refuses to wear his hearing aides in public for fear of what people will think of him, oxymoron, I know, still a battle on non-school days that I do not even entertain. If you see him jumping out of his skin, or me pulling him back to me (usually with force) it is to get his attention as he almost walked into the path of a moving vehicle. If you think I am ignoring my name being called, repeatedly and assume I am flat out ignoring my child, please know I am not, I heard him the prior 10 times he called my name and I have already given my answer or explanation to him, it just isn't what his "tick" wants to hear. If you see someone talking to my child and his eyes are only fixated on me, this is by no means a scare tactic on my part, he is THAT unsure of himself in most social situations.
The he best way to describe it is when we are out in public, he is aware we are out and may come in contact with several different people, but to him, especially when he gets in his "zone" it is just him and I. This makes the interaction between us not so personal anymore and opens us/me up to scrutiny in the way I converse with him, handle his fits, and deal with his outbursts.
I am not a bad parent, I am a parent who cares about her son, would do anything, including giving my own life for my son, just as any of you would! I have a son I chose to take out and expose to the world, and not in a freak show kind of way, a way that exposes him to life's lessons that will be more valuable to him as he slowly accepts them, albeit only on his terms. I am tired of the look I get as if you are waiting for an an apology from me or an explanation for his behavior, I don't owe that to anyone.
So for now, please know I have and will always teach my son to be polite and respectful, it is to be given and when given it is earned, and understand that I will always be THAT parent you may see or run into when you are out in public!