Keep Your Judgments To Yourself

School drop off in the morning is stressful enough. Just trying to get the kids into the actual car is a victory, let alone getting them to school sometimes.

But then come the judgments about what my child is wearing from teachers — it about sends me through the roof.

As parents, we all know it’s incredibly tough getting all of the kids set up and ready for school in the morning.

I put together some wonderful tips on how to streamline your morning routine and they have certainly helped to make things easier.

But for those of us with sensory kids, sometimes the best laid plans don’t always help.

Despite having clothes available the night before, it’s often a negotiation about what my son will wear.

Living in Chicagoland, the change from summer clothes to winter ones is never a simple transition.

My 8 year old Vman is tactile defensive, which means that clothing often feels not only scratchy but downright painful.

He’s never happier than when summer comes and he can ditch the cool-weather clothing.

We have negotiated a grading scale to help decide what kind of clothing (and jackets) he will have to wear that day.

50s or 60s

If if is going to be a high in the 50s or 60s, Vman can wear shorts but must wear a long sleeve shirt.

He immediately pushes the sleeves up past his elbows, which somewhat defeats the purpose but at least it’s a small victory.

When we’re in the 50s, he also must wear a light fleece or sweatshirt.

The winds in Chicago can really make the air feel much colder.


If the weather is going to be in the 40s, he has to wear sweatpants (the only kind I can get on him) and a long-sleeve shirt.

He also must wear a fleece or sweatshirt zipped up.

30s and Below

And if it is going to be in the 30s, he has to switch to an actual jacket.

Most mornings, Vman grabs my iPhone and asks Siri what the weather is going to be like for the day.

You know, just in case we’re going to have an unforeseen heat wave.

Thankfully, now that he understands the weather and temperature, he begrudgingly accepts his fate and puts on clothes.

And yet, he still balks at the idea of wearing a jacket… or a light fleece… or a sweatshirt.

But we generally get out the door without me pulling out my hair.

Now we arrive at the drop-off line at school, a teacher reaches for the door to let my kids out.

What is the first thing we hear —

“What? No jacket today?

You really need to have a jacket.

It’s cold outside and you’re going to freeze.”

Honestly, I’m thinking… the only thing that is going to freeze around here is you because of all of the icy glares I’m sending your way.

I wonder if these teachers make these judgmental off-handed comments to everyone in the car line.

As a parent, it drives me insane.

As a sensory parent, it really bugs me that much more. I’m a good mom and know what’s best for my child.

These teachers don’t know what my child is managing, and it really shouldn’t make a heap of difference.

That’s the way the world works though, isn’t it?

For some bizarre reason, people seem to think it’s perfectly acceptable to give unsolicited advice and judge those around them.

It’s even worse when those judgments come from family and friends.

But I’m telling you… keep your judgments to yourself.

I’m not interested in what you think.

We all have our own personal battles.

And while you may think you’re “helping” by pointing out the obvious, all you’re doing is taking away my energy.

As much as I try to ignore these kinds of comments, some days they defeat me.

Some days I just want to tell people to &^%*# off.

Some days I want to go home and cry.

And some days, like today, I get to go home and write about it to my friends.

I remember that I’m not alone, and that fills my bucket right back up.

To read more of my posts touching on Sensory Processing Disorder, please click here. To learn more about sensory challenges or to join our inclusive community, visit The Sensory Spectrum.


  1. So, soooooooo not alone.
    We too, here in Vermontlandia, are often possibly in the midst of an unforeseen heat wave 😉
    And don’t even get me started on Middle School SOCIAL stuff on TOP of sensory.
    Let’s move to Florida?

    1. Race you there! Vman constantly says that when he gets old enough, he’s picking up and moving Florida. And BOY do I believe him!

  2. What a perfect post. I completely understand every aspect of your post (especially the &^%*# off. Not only is it harder for me to get my kid to wear weather appropriate clothing, but he also likes to hike his pants up so that they are tight fitting (making them appear 3″ to short for him). I’ve heard comments before about how he needs pants that fit him…when his does, he just pulls them up to high.

    1. LOL. My kid does the exact opposite because he hates the feeling around his waste. So his pants that are too long are hanging 3 inches even lower!

  3. I am so thankful we have a teacher this year that is in touch with my child’s needs and has even cut out a few tags that were bothering him. There are just some people out there who don’t make the effort to understand sensory issues and maybe (just maybe) we can educate them.

    1. Intune teachers that are proactive in understanding what is going on are THE BEST!

  4. It can feel like we are being judged when people disagree, but I have found that we often put that on ourselves. It stinks that her comment made you feel that way-she obviously does not know your child’s background. Who cares if she pointed out that he was not wearing a jacket. You know your child and all that you have to do in a day to be a great mom. Build your contentment from there. We don’t have to assume people are judging us just by offering alternate thoughts-that uses up way too much energy! Hang in there mom!

    1. I kind of feel like you missed the point… it’s that people are so quick to judge and second guess us as parents on all fronts. And as parents, we shouldn’t have to listen to this day after day. This wasn’t an isolated incident… it happens all of the time, which is the exact reason it pisses me off so much.

  5. I’ll never forget the time when the only warm piece of clothing I could get my SPD son to wear was a hideous, red sweatshirt with Mater from “Cars” plastered across the front. He wore it to school every single day, and I allowed it because it got us out the door. Once, his teacher said to me, “I can’t believe you let him do this,” and I had never felt so alone. I understand COMPLETELY.

    1. Yes, I have given up on “cute” clothing as well. And the fact that the teacher would say that to you — good grief. Didn’t she understand anything that you kiddo was facing? I can’t imagine how unaccommodating she must have been in the classroom.

  6. I am sorry that you are feeling this way. I feel bad because I am constantly saying to kids at school “Where’s your jacket?” but I always say it in a joking manner. I am never thinking, “Why didn’t your parent send you with a jacket?” I’m thinking, boy it’s cold out and you might want to have a jacket out there. My 7 year old is the same way. Every morning he asks for a detailed weather report and selects his outfit accordingly. If people need to judge him on his outfit, I don’t put much stock in their opinions. If my kid is happy, that’s what matters the most. Keep it up, you’re doing a great job with those kiddos!

    1. I think it’s one thing to ask a kiddo where their jacket is… probably because it’s stuffed in their locker. But it’s another when the “older” teachers announce to the car that they really should have a jacket. A couple of weeks ago, one of the older teachers actually addressed me directly saying he should have a jacket on. I informed her of the high temperature of the day and she still refuted me. I held my tongue… but one of these days…

  7. Yes! I 100% agree! I get SO frustrated with feeling so judged, not only by teachers, but by other parents as well. If people understood the extra time it really takes to help a child with special needs, they would just shut their mouths, smile, and nod. Bravo for sharing. 🙂

    1. This post just poured out onto the keyboard…. some days are just like that! And today we had to wear winter coats for the first time… I basically put the hood on his head (didn’t slip his arms through the coat) and went to school that way. I’m taking the victories where I can!

  8. Alena Belleque (The Homemade Creative) says:

    Even though my daughter doesn’t have sensory issues, I get where you’re coming from. The other day we were at a friend’s and this came up. It was a breezy 60 with warm sun, and my girl was in a maxi dress and flip flops — and all the other kids were bundled in winter coats. I had boots and a jacket in the car, and told her to tell me if she got cold. Another mom asked if I wanted to borrow a jacket, and when I declined offered several more times, and even asked my daughter. Then another mom came, and the next thing I knew, she’d put a jacket on my girl. I felt really judged. 🙁 And? She got hot, and took it off anyway.

  9. I have dressing problems with my kids, too. But I appreciate comments like what the teacher in the column said-it backs up what I’ve been saying to my kids. I get a ‘it takes a village’ feeling. However, if someone went to my kid after I had said no, that is NOT backing me up. I would speak up to that person.

  10. I always think it is crazy on what people will say to others, without knowing ANYTHING about them or what may be going on!

  11. This is spoken in a gentle, non-judgmental tone from someone who has her own sensory issues (I hate to put lotion on my hands so much that I’ll practically let them crack and bleed when it gets cold, for instance) and gets it and who watched kids come into my school with weather inappropriate clothing.

    That teacher has no way of knowing your child has sensory challenges. Although I’m assuming she’e not Vman’s regular teacher. What that teacher does know is that there are lots of kids that come to school clothed inappropriately for weather. And she is mostly likely making a gentle reminder not because she’s out to offend you, but because she is thinking about your child. She may even be looking to gently ask if your family needs assistance with cold weather clothing without coming right out and asking you.

    FWIW, when I taught preschool those types of issues, clothing/hygiene, were noted. There are times when it falls into the neglect category although it takes a lot for it to get there.

    I wish sometimes that parents of special needs kids didn’t get offended so easily and tried to understand that not everyone else is up to speed on every issue out there. And I wish that they looked at times like this as a learning opportunity for the ADULTS. It would be a lot simpler and more beneficial to have asked for an opportunity to meet with this teacher than to get angry at her. Explain. Then maybe the next time she comes across this issue, she will have more life experience and choose better words.

    Again, I hope this isn’t taken wrongly…

    1. Jayne — I think all of your points are very valid. And I can certainly see how some teachers do worry if they see kids that may be lacking in coats and/or good hygiene. I hope that teachers also recognize that parents get these types of comments all the time. And when you’re a sensory parent, it is even that much more so…. comments on behavior, how they’re dressed. It’s quite exhausting.

      And trust me, if you had heard the *way* this teacher spoke, you’d know that she wasn’t concerned but more interested in pushing her opinion.

  12. I’ve gotten to the point where I call and mention it to the principal now when we have an issue. My son is really particular about car line – where he will get out, how he will get out, how he will let them help him…. and he is super picky about his clothes – so the principal has instructed all the teachers how to assist him and to not comment in a negative way on his outfit.

    They still say things like cool outfit, but don’t say things like – those look like pjs any more….. 🙂

  13. I can totally relate! Not just from teachers, try family members…

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