View Full Version : Bullying
03-10-2012, 03:34 PM
:but: Does anybody have any experience with their kids being bullied? Our sweet Genny is starting to have a lot more social trouble as she gets older. Her disability is becoming more obvious as she gets older, and kids are starting to make fun of her a lot. They make fun of her wearing a pull-up, and then they make fun of her crying all the time. One of the hallmarks of her condition, unfortunately, is gullibility, so she believes everything people tell her (unless it conflicts with something she already believes, and then she gets upset and confused) and recently the other kids reduced her to a terrified mess by telling her over and over that bugs were crawling in her shirt.
I don't want to be a helicopter parent, and I want her to learn some resilience, but at the same time I just want to either banish those bullies from our lives forever, or just hug her forever, or something... we left some of the bullies behind when we moved, but the kids in the new neighborhood have picked up right where they left off.
03-10-2012, 03:42 PM
Awwww, man, that is so hard and unfair. I'm sorry I have no advice, just huge giant (((((hugs))))) for you and your baby!
03-10-2012, 05:11 PM
Oh, Andrea, this just breaks my heart. I'm sorry that I don't guess I have any advice. I'd probably err on the side of the helicopter, so I'm no help. Thinking about you and your sweet girl, though. It sounds like she's really had a rough go of it lately with kids being mean. :(
03-10-2012, 05:31 PM
No advice, here either. Sorry. I just hate that kids are so dang mean. It would be so hard for me not to just shelter her and try not to put her in any type of situation where she could be bullied, but of course, that's not good for her either. Hard situation and all I can do is offer hugs.
03-10-2012, 07:35 PM
My older daughter was extremely bright, extremely clumsy, tall, and a little overweight for her age. On top of that, we moved quite a bit in her gradeschool days, so she was constantly trying to find new friends in new places. In one school when she was in the fifth grade, we had an awful situation with another girl who was just tormenting her. As she is here in the room with me, I asked her what she would have said to her fifth grade self, and what things helped (I felt so powerless at the time - fortunately we moved back to Montana half way through that school year). Her list:
Find activites that give her confidence and where she feels competent (i.e. music, or martial arts or whatever makes her feel accomplished and accepted)
Provide perspective (balance the taunts with truths, i.e. Genny may be gullible, but she is kind. Mommy and Daddy love Genny the way she is.)
Spiritual affirmations... God made Genny and He loves her just the way she is, etc.
I don't know if any of these are helpful in your particular situation, but I have to say, Kate and I had a really nice conversation about it, and I am proud of the young woman she has become. In spite of all the unkindness of other children. Take hope.
03-10-2012, 07:42 PM
Wow... that is just... heartbreaking. I have no advice, but I can offer cyber hugs and prayers. I think what Julie said is wise.
03-10-2012, 08:07 PM
Julie has some great ideas for building Genny up so that maybe the bullying won't hurt as bad. It still hurts, but when kids have positive interactions with other kids, and have something they feel confidence in, it makes it less world-ending.
The other thing I would think about it where is the bullying taking place? At the playground at recess? At the bus stop? Depending on where/when it is happening, making the school aware (if it is happening at school) or making your own presence felt (by observing play, or waiting at the bus stop, for example) could also help.
03-10-2012, 08:16 PM
My son had an issue earlier this year with a boy. The boy threatened to hurt Colin and (my son is usually fairly brave and sensible) he was so scared that he cried all through indoor recess and lunch. I was at school later in the day helping with Lego Club, so when my son told me about it, I went straight to find his teacher. She had left already for the day, so I went to the principle's office. The principle and both teachers got involved, called the boy's parents, and he has been fine to Colin since then.
So, in my experience, bullying is not something that schools mess around with. I did wonder afterwards if I went a bit over the top, but it was my first instinct :) I think we do need to build our kids up so that what other children say doesn't make or break their day, but with a pattern of meaness or bullying, we need to schools to step up, since we aren't there ourselves. And we need to make sure that schools are fostering an environment of acceptance.
I hope that it will end soon for her!
03-10-2012, 09:55 PM
You guys are awesome! Thanks for all the cyber hugs, they help. Julie, that is kind of what we try. For the most part. We tell her how special she is, and how much we treasure her, how funny she is, how she makes us smile. I just don't know how much of it is sinking in. So I just keep telling her, so she doesn't forget.
Most of this is going on in the neighborhood. I don't think that a lot of kids make fun of her at school, at least she's never told me about it, and none of her teachers have mentioned it. But then again, she's only been out of the special ed classes since Christmas break, and in the special ed kids were all very accepting of each other. It all happens here at home. They way the neighborhoods are here, most people don't have fenced yards, so the yards all run together, and all the kids kind of roam from yard to yard. We have a rule where they always have to be right out back where I can see them, but apparently many of the parents don't have that rule. Genny is very particular about some things, like she can't stand it if anybody swings in her swing, for instance. And then it just snowballs from there. And yet she wants to play with the other kids so much. When they make her unhappy I will try to convince her to stay inside and watch movies or hang out with me, but she wants to play.
I just wish she could find one good friend. Even if that friend was younger, or whatever, I wish that she had somebody on her "team."
03-10-2012, 10:03 PM
Some great advice here, and my heart really breaks for her! I agree that finding ways and areas that build up her confidence and friends who are positive will help. Maybe she will see that those who are bullying are not representative of most people and that she's fine the way she is. Teaching students with special needs, I've seen it happen quite often and always intervene....in addition to making sure my students are surrounded by other students who are good to them and build their confidence. Definitely make school aware...there is a big emphasis these days on fighting bullying!! Big hugs to you and her!!
03-10-2012, 10:09 PM
Bless her heart. I'll add my prayers for a special friend.
Such awesome advice - I dont have anything to add that hasn't been said here. Kids can be so mean. And I know exactly what you mean about her wanting things a certain way but wanting so badly to play with others. My little man is headed for that same path.
Big huge hugs to all to both of you!
PS. Julie - I think that your daughters words were touching and I would be very proud of her too.
03-11-2012, 08:17 AM
Andrea this is just so sad. I'm sorry for your little babe.
Are you close enough to the other parents of these children to talk to them about it? I know if someone came and told me that my child was bullying or even being mean to their child I would be horrified for my child's behavior and try to put a stop to it at once.
But I know there are some mean parents out there too, and that's where a lot of kids learn their behavior so who knows if talking to the parents would help or hurt.
Anyway.... you and your babe are in my thoughts and prayers. And Julie - your daughter has beautiful advice!
03-11-2012, 10:47 AM
PS. Julie - I think that your daughters words were touching and I would be very proud of her too.
This^I was too self-involved when originally reading through these posts to say this, Julie, but I was really touched by your daughter's advice. Please thank her for sharing it with us!
03-11-2012, 10:54 AM
Are you close enough to the other parents of these children to talk to them about it?
No, we just moved here, so I haven't even met the parents of some of these new kids. They just roam around unsupervised! We are thinking of putting up a fence, because we are thinking of getting a puppy (don't tell Atha, it's a surprise!) but that won't stop the kids from playing. I feel like if I tell her she can't play with the other kids it will be like punishing her, and that's not fair.
When Iv'e actually happened on kids in the process of picking on her, that's a touch situation! You don't want to just shout at other people's kids. Plus, I mean... remember being 6 and there being a kid in the class who would just go off at the drop of a hat? There was a little boy at our school who would throw a complete fit if you just said his name wrong, so the kids did it all the time, just because- you know, not out of malice, but kind of just because they could! If that makes sense. I know that probably most of these kids aren't mean-spirited, per se, they are just exploring their worlds, and Genny happens to have reactions to things that they find amusing.
But that bugs thing, that was straight up cruel. She was terrified, and they thought it was hilarious. We don't live near those girls anymore thank goodness.
03-11-2012, 11:30 AM
My mom said she had a teacher promise to give her a candy bar if she could make it through a whole day without crying (she was in gradeschool). My Kate inherited that, and yes, it is sort of a torture magnet. And you want to help them so very badly, but I can remember fervently wishing she would just.stop.crying.
This whole mom thing is not an easy gig.
03-11-2012, 11:37 PM
Sounds a bit like Natalie and the kids around here. I don't think they went all the way to cruel, but they weren't nice to her and picked up on the fact that she was different (emotional, bossy, naive to a fault). Fortunately for us, her behavioral issues required us to transfer her to another elementary (where they love her) so she doesn't need to see the neighborhood kids on a regular basis. And gosh, we're too darn busy for her to play outside too often. :whistle:
I have Natalie in Girl Scouts and had her taking skating lessons for a while (I need to find her a coach that has time available when I do)- things where she is accepted and can do well with. Her GS sisters realize that she's different but they are tolerant, plus I have a chance to explain to them the issues she struggles with.
Perhaps you can develop a relationship with her teacher, and see if there are kids in her class who do care for her- if might be worth to cultivate those blooming friendships.
It rips your heart out when your child doesn't just blend with the other kids in the neighborhood- just another reminder that your child is different, and why can't they love her the way you do? I have SO been there.
It's hard not to helicopter, but for a child that doesn't have those social cues, it may be a little more necessary until those cues are learned. And, as Genny's self-esteem starts to build (with real friends, with activities where she thrives), I think (I hope!!) you'll need to protect her less.
Hmmm... a puppy? I wonder if Genny might take to help training the puppy? It can give her an activity that can be done outside, and dog handling can teach some valuable skills. That can be a wonderful esteem builder!
Hugs for you, Andrea!!!
03-12-2012, 06:03 AM
andrea, it's such a difficult situation to be in, wanting to protect your daughter and also giving her the "toughening up" skill. both my girls have had a rough time the last 2.5 years being in Danish schools because they are "different". Prior to this, they went to International Schools where everyone is "different". The whole culture here is changing but it's a slow change in allowing other cultures in. And they have been bullied because they aren't full Danish kids (dad is Danish and I'm American). And it doesnt help that they are part Asian on top of it. I've had to explain over and over that a lot of it is just ignorance and my girls need to learn to ignore the ignorance. But I have also gone to the parents and the teachers and spoken about it and have gone out of my way to invite all the girls friends and not friends over to show that our family is pretty normal and not freaky wierd although we speak English at home. It's still hard to hear the stupid things the girls go thru though...so I agree with some of the other ladies, maybe once you get to know the neighborhood better, you can speak with the parents, etc...it goes a long way to better understanding.
03-12-2012, 04:57 PM
Oh, Andrea. My heart breaks for you. I am so frightened for my children as they go through school for this very reason. Kids really are cruel.
So much good advice has been given here, and if you do get the opportunity to find out who the parents are of the children who are giving her a hard time, I would definitely speak to them. If my children were teasing someone else, or leaving someone out, or whatever, I would want to know so I could address it. In most cases, they probably would want to know as well.
My niece is in middle school and being bullied (and cyber-bullied) and her personal history is such that she is very emotionally vulnerable that I am sooo frightened for her. Not being her parent, or living close by, I don't know how I can help. It's heartbreaking.
03-12-2012, 08:00 PM
You know what? Today she cried her head off when it was time to go to school. She DID NOT WANT TO GO. Just hiccupping sobs. Then Vince put her in the truck and she was fine, like she forgot all about it. But she was crying again when he picked her up, and the teacher said she didn't have any idea why. I have talked to this teacher, and she used to teach PSCD (preschool special ed) for a super long time. Much longer than she has been a regular preschool teacher. So she's very gentle and aware of things. I don't get it.
Maybe it's time to go back to the psychotherapist. :(
03-12-2012, 08:40 PM
One of the best things that we've done for Maggie is enroll her her in karate (actually Tang Soo Do, which is a Korean form that focuses on self-defense). Her instructor is amazing with the kids, seeming to instinctively know how each individual child will best be motivated. His focus is on respect and discipline (which we love!), and it has been amazing to see Maggie grow and blossom from her time in class. The first time she had to break a board, she was nervous and tentative, but this last time, she went up with such confidence that her instructor said, "Whoa! If I was that board, I'd be scared!" lol
So maybe something like that? An individual thing but something taught in a group setting?
03-12-2012, 09:33 PM
Since you're new to the neighborhood, maybe invite the kids over (with parents permission) for a fun games afternoon or movie or something? Something where they can have fun together, getting to know each other under your supervision. You can then gently reinforce how great it is to be nice to each other etc. The other kids might be nicer around her if they get to know her (and you) better.
03-13-2012, 06:45 PM
Alright, I wrote a response to Sinead's post last night, and then it disc-appeared, as Gen would say.
Anyway, what I was saying is that I love the martial arts idea! I was working on getting Atha into Tae Kwon Do, but the local dojo? Dojo? ANyway, the local martial arts place never called me back. Atha is somewhat physically awkward, so we wanted to give her some strength. But I LOVE the idea for Gen, too! I'm going to get cracking on it.
Jacinda, the last few days I've been working on getting to know the neighbor kids a little bit, and now Genny's made herself a friend! Her name is Favor, and she loves to wear Easter dresses. I'm not sure if she's developmentally delayed as well, although I suspect she may be. But, you don't just ask right? Anyway, the two of them really seem to get along, and I couldn't be happier! YAY!
03-13-2012, 06:56 PM
Yay, Andrea! That sounds terrific! It's always easier to face things when you have a friend. I love that her new friend loves to wear Easter dresses! Too cute!
As far as the karate thing, if you have a local YMCA, check there. That's where ours is done. The program is run by an instructor who has a school a few towns over, but the Y coordinates the fees, etc., and we get a discounted rate because we're members. ;)
03-13-2012, 07:16 PM
She loves to wear Easter dresses, and her sister's name is Princess, which is kind of awesome.
YMCA- I'll check it out! Also, I think the youth services here on post might have something as well.
03-13-2012, 11:06 PM
Oh, Andrea, this just warms my heart to know that your gal has made a new friend! :heart:
03-14-2012, 02:16 AM
Yay, I'm so happy for her to have a new friend! Hope you'll find a course for your girls!
That is so exciting! Hope you find a class for your girls!
03-14-2012, 10:37 AM
Andrea, I literally yelled "YAY!" when I read about Genny's new friend! That's great, and I'm sure it will be super-helpful for her. As for martial arts, my DS has been in Taekwondo since he turned 5 (he's almost 7.5 now) and I really think it's great. He's a very sensitive kid with a tendency towards being whiny and I could totally see kids picking on him, especially as he gets older. But he has great self-confidence from TKD and it's helping him socially already.
03-14-2012, 10:43 AM
Oh, and *I* love to wear Easter dresses too. Just sayin' ;)
03-14-2012, 12:07 PM
Ok, now I just want to call Pamie "Favor." All.The.Time.
I am so tickled that Genny has a new friend. Did you ever find out why she was crying about school?
03-14-2012, 12:26 PM
Nope. She cried before school today, too, but then she was fine once we got there. She said she was not finished with her carrots she was eating. I have no idea.
03-15-2012, 04:23 AM
I third (or am I fourth? lol) martial arts. We do Karate as a family and we love it! It is great because everyone is in one group, no matter what belt you are wearing, no matter if you are young or old. It teaches (self)respect, discipline and confidence. We also have a boy in our class who is mentally and physically delayed, no prob!
03-15-2012, 08:50 AM
Oooh, and our instructions really emphasizes that it is not a competition between other people (like for belt rankings and such) but more a matter of whether you're trying really hard and doing your best. Before they had their first boards to break, he sat them down and told them that when he was doing his Master's belt (beyond black belt and instructor status) that he didn't break all of his boards but that he walked away with his head high and proud because he had done his best.
I love the fact that he's teaching them that sometimes--even when you do your best--things don't come out the way you want them to...but that you can still be proud of your effort if you did, indeed, put forth your best effort. Good life lesson there!!
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