Why is it that children get bullied? It’s my personal belief that some children make fun of what they do not understand. If a child does something that’s perceived as different that another child, he/she may laugh or make a joke. Sometimes our children are called “weird” or “stupid” or “different” by their peers. Yes, it is true, our little puzzles may do some things that others may think is odd. We all do things that make us feel comfortable, bite our nails, chew gum, twirl our hair….Sometimes, kids just have bigger motions like hand flapping, twirling, interesting infatuations etc. that make them feel comfortable, but they just cannot hide them-they shouldn’t have to.
In a recent session with my son, his therapist asked him which words she should not use during therapy or words that he just didn’t like. I was fully expecting him to say, one of the four letter words or the use of the Lord’s name in vein (which we do not permit in our home). Instead he totally shocked me and said, “Please don’t say weird, odd, crazy, or different because the children in my school use those words about me sometimes in my face and sometimes I hear them whispering them when I walk by.” My heart TOTALLY sank and I was shocked. He’d never shared this with me before. It’s such a shame that he must experience this from other children. He’s in elementary school. What will it be like for him when hormones and peer pressure kick in?
When we came home and since then, I have used the word “different” and “unique” and “special” in a positive way and want him to know that being his own special person is so very important. We should teach our own children, especially those who are typically developing and aren’t used to our kids’ cool flapping, waving, and hand motions that just because something is different makes it even more special. We should teach our children to learn from “different” and that everyone has something unique and special about them to share with others.
PLEASE share with us your stories of bullying and how you cope. Let’s try to help each other!
By- Cara Koscinki MOT, OTR/L
Author of The Pocket Occupational Therapist- a handbook for caregivers of children with special needs. Questions and answers most freqenty asked to OTs with easy to understand answers and fun activities you can do with your child. Order anywhere books are sold. www.pocketot.com