Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine's Day Bully

Bullying…. You hear that word as a mom or parent or guardian of a disabled child and you go instantly to a dark place.  Your blood pressure rises.  You forget about everything and everyone around you.  You want to find out who and, to be adult and responsible and politically correct, give them a piece of your mind.

But you also want to protect.  And the helplessness when you can’t is something that you don’t ever want to bear.

Today is Valentine’s Day.  It’s supposed to be a day of love and caring… sharing one’s feelings with each other.

It’s also a day where a kid… any kid… can get bullied.

And today it was mine.

It’s difficult enough when your child gets bullied at school and they know exactly who it is.  They understand what’s going on.  They know it’s happening.

But for mine, and maybe yours as well and countless other kids out there, they don’t know or understand.

Hell, mine can’t even describe to you who it is.

Frustrating.  So frustrating.

How do you teach sincerity and trust to your disabled child?  Better yet, how do you teach them at this age insincerity and distrust???

Teenage kids are masters at lying and manipulating.  Absolute masters.

So how then do we teach our kids to know the subtle differences? 


Sean’s Life experience adds up to a few years of mainstream school, years in special education, and hour upon hour reading about things in books and on-line.

He is hardly prepared for the viciousness of the junior high crowd.

Heck, on some days, I’m not prepared for the stunts they pull or the things they say when I run into them around town.

How do I prepare him for a kid making fun of him when Sean doesn’t even realize that he’s being made fun of??

How do I go to the school and say something in the hope of protecting my child when Sean can’t even tell me anything about the boys who did it?

Sean doesn’t look people in the eye when they speak.

He doesn’t look at people at all…

Sean identifies people by voices and in the Peter Brady world of junior high, voices are difficult to define.

So what am I to do?  What are any of us parents, guardians, friends, therapists, people who care, supposed to do?

I guess we hope.  We pray.

And we teach our child as much as we can.  We have them experience Life outside of their own world as much as possible.

And we’re there for them. 

We can’t physically watch over them 24 hours a day.  We can’t raise them in a bubble or in a constant state of monitoring.  But our spirits can be with them and hopefully that little voice inside of them will help guide their way when it comes to unpleasant and unknown situations.

Unfortunately, bullying is part of growing up and it’s even worse now than when I was a teen.

And I wasn’t autistic.

We can only do what we can… and when we set our minds to it, parents and guardians of disabled children can do just about anything…

So with fair warning….

Don’t mess with Mama Bear boys... because Mama Bear is pissed.

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