Hi, I'm new here. I looked around for a similar thread, but I couldn't find one, so if this is a duplicate, please feel free to direct me to an already existing thread.
I'm looking for a good way to deal with people who say nasty things or give me dirty looks when I park in a handicapped space when I have my 10 year old son with me. He suffers from a rare, genetic bone disease and requires surgery from time to time. Recently, he's had his left hip rebuilt and was issued a handicapped parking placard. I am happy to report that recovery is going nicely. He used a wheelchair for a time, then a walker, and now a cane. Some days he feels better than others and goes without the cane.
My problem is with bystanders who make rude comments to me or my son. I've been told all manner of nasty things, and once even had somebody run over his walker when I set it aside as I was trying to get him loaded into my car (to make it worse, my oldest son also suffers from this disease and had ankle surgery a month after the youngest had hip surgery, so during that incident, I had one kid in a wheelchair and another on a walker). Usually, I just smile and go about my business, but sometimes people get into my face and yell at me. I sometimes reply by saying that "My son's doctor feels that he needs it".
Unfortunately, my son is very sensitive. He was also born 16 weeks early and has some neuro-sensory issues in addition to the bone disease. He gets very upset with any kind of confrontation, and there have been times when he completely melted down because these strangers yelling at mommy have scared him.
I would love some advise on how to respond (or not respond) to better slip away from these confrontations, or avoid them all together. Thanks!