A personal ethical question…

I keep wondering what is the right thing to do…

Last Tuesday (and many other times) I passed by a family with a disabeled child – in this case the kid was in a wheel chair, yet you can imagine that in other situations it has visible signs that something is wrong…

I passed by and the kid was smiling at me.

Now, what should I have done?

Smile back which could, by some parents be interpreted as pitty, mocking, looking down on their situation, thus, they can get insulted… or should I pass by and ¨not see¨ the kid, which would then be rude, ugly and inconsiderate, thus, the parents can get insulted?


About Maria Bakardjieva

I am a licensed Social Media Strategist and Networking Coach who helps business and people position, grow and develop. I work at Explicata - an online marketing experts company. You can find us at www.explicata.com
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6 Responses to A personal ethical question…

  1. Krasimir says:

    If somebody smiles at you – especially a kid, there is no ethics behind it that would prevent you from smiling back. In fact, if you see them frustrated or offended that you are smiling at their (presumably loved) kid you can hint to the parents that their child gave you a smile and you smiled back.

  2. me says:

    smile back, of course! what do you prefer – the parents to think that you might’ve been the 100th person to smile down condescendingly on their child, or the child itself to think you’re the 100th person that didn’t smile back at them, because you were too confused about how to react?

  3. Apostol Apostolov says:

    I think that you should’ve smiled back, ’cause that’s what these kids lack the most. Parents of disabled children are usually the only ones that give ’em a smile and a hug. There is nothing more precious for a kid with problems than treating him as any other kid. They hate to be looked at from a different perspective. That’s more of a discrimination than anything. So, smile:) It’s just another kid, no matter that he can’t walk without the wheelchair, he can walk WITH it, in other words, he smiles with his lips, so there is nothing wrong in smiling back. The opposite would be ignorance. It would be a different case, if you were jumping on one leg and smiling at the same time. My point is that the only thing that matters is how The Kid would interpret your smile. If the parents get insulted, there is something fundamentally wrong with them.

  4. Thank you all for the answer…
    That is exactly what I did for two reasons
    1. the kid was really cute 🙂
    2. for all the reasons that you mentioned
    but then the dad… well… if he could kill me with his eyes he would have… grrrrrrrrr….

  5. 5kidswdisabilities says:

    I don’t understand why the dad would be mad! Smiling was the completely appropriate thing to do.
    People with disabilities need to be treated like everyone else. I don’t think pity comes into it, (unless he’s carrying a tin cup and you put money in it!) Maybe you just imagined the dad was grrrrrrrrrrr. Maybe he was late for an appointment or in a crabby mood because of another reason. Maybe the dad wanted a smile, too!

    • mbakardjieva says:

      Everything is possible of course, and now from the distance of time may be you are right… since the specific image has faded away in my memory… what I was more interested in is if there is a generally accepted code of conduct that I do not know about in terms of how to say Hi to children like this…
      It was just a random thought… I hope that both the dad and the kid had a great day after that … and no grrrrrrrrrrrr will ever keep me from greeting with a smile 🙂

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