Thursday, May 15, 2014

Teaching Your Children not to Bully

One would think that if you have a child with special needs, then your other children would know how to accept children with special needs.

This is not necessarily the case. They still need to be taught. They have probably grown accustomed to the differences in your own child, but they will still notice others with differences, and they still need to be taught to accept everyone's appearance even if they look different or act differently.

My son isn't mean about it when he sees people who are different, but he might say they look silly. This is still not acceptable to me. I often use Trenton as an example of someone who is different like the person he might mention. I'll explain that they are like Trenton and don't know any better or just look different.

He will likely be around people with special needs all of his life in part because of his brother and in part because there are a lot of people out there who are different, and that is okay. I think that is a huge lesson for children. Different is okay.

Isn't that where bullying comes from? People don't want to accept someone who is different. Adults bully more than we would like to admit, and that is not helping our children with this problem. When we comment at home to our spouse that "so-and-so" sure is strange or point out some physical attribute of another adult, this is wrong for you as an adult, but it also undermines everything that you have tried to teach your children. You are basically giving your child the okay to talk about people that are different in a negative light.

Some people might think it is okay to mock someone with special needs, because they may assume that they do not know what is going on. Going with this assumption could be very embarrassing for you. There are many genetic disabilities as well as physical disabilities out there, but although someone may appear to be different, they may have a much higher intelligence than you do. Talking down to people who you think are mentally disabled is an insult to the individual, it makes you look silly, and it teaches your children the myth that those who look "normal" are above those who look "different." Those people might be used to it, but it still hurts.

Bullying always hurts. Sometimes I think the topic is overdone and encourages suicides and encourages people to feel sorry for themselves, but it still does hurt, and it still needs to be ingrained as wrong in your children. This is the responsibility of the parents or guardians of every child.

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