We have the issue that anytime we go into a store, our son gets highly anxious about the loud speaker and the beeping at the registers. So much so that he usually throws things when it's time to check out, or covers his ears and cries when they use the loud speaker. He also gets very upset if there is another child crying (even if that child is three aisles over) and it can send him into a tailspin from which we cannot always recover.
With all of these problem behaviors occurring frequently when we go out, people outside of our world might wonder why we ever go out with our children if it isn't completely necessary. Why do we subject ourselves to the stares and comments that cut so deep. Why don't we, for instance, leave our son at home with one parent and the other parent can take out the other two? Why don't I always do my grocery shopping while all three children are at preschool? Why do we attempt the park when we know the end result will probably be dragging a kicking and screaming child to the car?
I know our son would be perfectly content to sit in the living room and play with all of his favorite toys over and over again. His anxiety would be next to nothing and his overall mood would improve. When we were home sick last week with very few outings and next to no transitions our days were nearly meltdown free. So why don't we homeschool, get a sitter for all of our necessary outings, and stop all of our therapies? There are a few reasons we make the choice not to lock ourselves up inside the house and avoid the new and unfamiliar all together.
First of all, staying shut away is not an option in the real world. If we expect our children to mature and learn coping mechanisms they need to practice. If we expect them to be able to go to the grocery store and buy food for themselves someday, we cannot avoid noisy places all together. We have to work through the experience, even if it does appear to be disastrous to onlookers. Actually, sometimes our outings might look like disasters, but were ten times better than the last one and we bask in the joy of that progress.