Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thoughts on a Common Problem

Throughout the past few days, I have learned quite a bit about bullying I want to share.
Bullying is about power.  There is always some sort of power difference between the children involve.  It may be physical, verbal, mental, racial or what not.  It's all about perception.  One or more children will use that supposed power to intimidate or exclude other children.  

The bully and the victim are not friends.  And despite how it may appear, the intent is not fun, at least not for both parties.

Kids with special needs are usually targets, especially those who look normal.  Think of it as the old analogy of picking on the weakest.  Many people will clam that kids may not be aware of a child's disability, but trust me, kids know.  

It starts at home.  We've all read this, but what does it mean.  I've found that if you look at the social patterns of the parents that you can tell a lot about how the child will handle differences.  If the parents are elitist, typically, so are the kids.  If the parents just go along with the crowd, so will the kids.  

Sadly, talking to most parents won't make a difference.  Sometimes it works, but after 6+ years of dealing with it, we've learned that most of the time there is no lasting change.

The long term impacts of bullying on a kids like Jason is huge.  He has a whole laundry list of things he deals with as it is.  All of those things make it difficult for him to maintain a healthy level of self-esteem.  He knows he is a valuable son and brother, but he doesn't get that kind of feedback from the real world.  Bullying just adds fuel to the flames that eat away at his self-image.

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