He Called Me Retarded, Mom ~ UPDATED ~

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by On_Call, Mar 16, 2007.

  1. On_Call

    On_Call New Member

    difficult child's words, through tears, during dinner last night. We are sitting at the table talking about our day and difficult child startes instantly crying. He says a classmate at collaborative day continuously calls him "retarded", "gay", "moron" and "idiot". He said he knows "it wouldn't make any difference if he told a staff member" because the classmate would deny it and then be meaner to him next time.

    Then, he said that he "deserved it" because he "made" the other child call him those things and hate him by behaving like he behaves. He cried and I could've cried. The fact that he's taking the blame for being abused is just awful. :crying:

    As I was trying to tell him that nothing at all he could possibly do who justify a classmate calling him those things, husband was advising him to stand up for himself. EEK! I could just picture that - difficult child flipping out and then being the one in trouble with the consequences while his charming classmate goes about his business.

    When difficult child calmed after his shower, I advised him to talk to his counselor about it. On the one hand, if he strikes back (even verbally) with the other child, difficult child will be in trouble. Also, when he goes to a staff member, he is told to "work it out" and not to "tattle" - or says he gets ignored immediately as if the staff member didn't even hear him.

    I reiterated that he does not deserve to be called those names, etc., and that he was a good kid. I reminded him that all of his classmates have issues, as well. He said he just wants to "be friends with everyone" and wants them to like him.

    Any been there done that Warrior Mom advice on this one? The munchkins have the day off from school today, but I am considering calling the CDT program and speaking to difficult child's counselor myself. difficult child certainly has his issues and he is certainly not an angel, but it would never occur to him to call a classmate an ugly name, so it is painful for him - and for me - to have him in this situation.

  2. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    While our difficult children need to learn to deal with the community & some of it's ugliness, however in this type of program at school an adult should be stepping in.

    Not just for your difficult child but to use this as a teaching moment for both of the children.

    The role of day programs is to teach or model different behaviors; to intervene when inappropriate behaviors are occurring. That is the reason our children are enrolled in this type of setting.

    More than once, I've had to call a meeting of the minds & ask that something be done. Especially in wm's case. I make school officials aware that I know that they are dealing with a lot of children with many different issues.

    And part of the program is to teach/redirect these types of things.

    I'm sorry that you're difficult child is being verbally abused. I hope he can learn coping skills - being able to walk away. I also think school staff needs to step in when it's gone over the top.
  3. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    <span style='font-size: 11pt'>I'm a big believer in letting kids sort things out for themselves in most situations. This is not one of them. He needs you to be his voice because our kids are not yet equipped to handle this situation in a healthy and productive and self saving way. I don't take many issues to the school. I save my hair on fire personality for the biggies. This is a biggie for me.
    I would call and leave a message today and be in the office when it opens Monday. No blame, no accusations,no anger at the school- just a mom who expects proper treatment of your child while in their care. Hold them accountable.

    I told difficult child that if he is in that class the others also, have similar problems. On the other hand, no kid should have to live with a bully who undermines our kids fragile ego. The counselor who says "no tattling" should be tarred and feathered. It's inexcusable to allow bullying to go on especially with kids who already have a hard time figuring out how to behave.
    Can you tell this is a hot topic for me?
    I told easy child for a long time to get over it or stand up for himself until he just broke down. I let him suffer too long in a situation where he was pitted "him against them". I could kick myself for letting it go. I'd never do that again.
    Where kids think it's just kids horsing around has gotten to the point of harassment and vindictiveness. I don't care how many people say "boys will be boys" and "everyone goes through it" Let them let their sons be bullied. It's not happening to mine and I expect the schools to be accountable and responsible.
    Tell him to tattle and scream really loud when someone talks to him like that. If the school can't protect him from increased aggression then they should provide someone to keep him safe from bullying.
    It's crap and it's way too tolerated. Don't let your kid be a victim.
    I'm beginning to think that bullies should have to walk around the school with a sign around their necks that says "I'm a mean bully. Don't talk to me" So he can feel the isolation of being branded different.

    Wear your warrior mom hat. Be productive and concise of what the problem is and what your expectations are. No one has the right to make your kid feel small and not up to snuff. </span>
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Jamie, I would call the counselor, tell him what happened and ask for some advice on how to resolve the issue. You don't want this run-in to escalate on either side, and given that they're both difficult children, it certainly has the potential to do that.

    We had a similar situation a few weeks back with difficult child 1. He and a group of boys were horsing around and tossing grapes at each other during a dinner break from play rehearsal. difficult child 1 hit a boy (I'll call him J) with a grape (not hard -- in fun), and J kicked difficult child 1 twice in the shin and punched him in the face (no adults saw the altercation, but I sure wish they had). difficult child 1 was ashamed of himself for not fighting back, and when he talked to husband (I was not present), husband advised him to defend himself the next time. Five days later, J started taunting difficult child 1 with a derogatory name, and difficult child 1 shoved J. J retaliated by shoving his sneakers into difficult child 1's face. difficult child 1 ended up with a fat lip and a nasty cut inside his mouth. At this point, the school got involved, but I so wish husband had brought it to the school's attention after the first incident so we could have avoided the second incident. Needless to say, difficult child 1 was stunned by J's reaction and very down on himself for days afterward.

    I hope you can nip your incident in the bud. Please let us know what happens.
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Ditto Fran.

    Where's the hair on fire icon....
  6. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member

    I agree with Fran. I would be difficult child's champion on this issue. I would go to school and talk to the teacher and the principal. difficult child shouldn't to put down like this.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't really believe in allowing bullying and expecting kids to deal with it. Not all kids can. I got bullied and you don't forget about it. If kids with disorders are teased, it can be very damaging. I'd put a stop to it. Your son has enough problems. he doesn't need this kid beating him into the ground. JMO.
  8. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    If he's crying at home and blaming himself for being bullied, then it's gone beyond his ability to handle. You need to contact the school and try to work something out to put a stop to it. The situation can only get worse for your difficult child, he'll either internalize it and believe it, or start to get angry and stand up for himself in a physical way. Either case will not help your difficult child improve and move on. Hope you can get it worked out.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, that's so sad!
    I agree with-'Chell that it's gone beyond his ability to handle. I really disagree with-the no tattling comment... I realize that teachers get tired of it when kids come to them for every little thing, but this has carried over too far. You can teach him to loudly say, "Cut it out! That's rude!" or something, so that who ever is watching at that time will have a better chance of catching the mean kid in the act. Even if s/he didn't hear the exact words, s/he'll have heard two sets of voices and can figure it out from there.
    My easy child daughter had many issues like that when she was younger and it made us crazy. She was such a softie. I rarely intervened, although I will say that like the writers above, husband and I were on opposite ends of the spectrum. I gave her a few snappy responses that actually made her laugh, and husband kept telling her to be Christian and kind. He didn't "get it." She was too young. It's SO hard when kids are first experiencing this sort of thing from their supposed friends. Adults have been through it so many times, well, it just gets old and we can choose whether to toss it back or be kind. It's all new and very tender for kids.
    with-a roomful of difficult child I can only imagine how bad it must get... my difficult child is in a regular classroom and he occasionally gets it but the rooms are so small the teacher usually hears the whole thing. (Typically, the kids are separated. And also, when other kids do name-calling, it escalates and they start in on the teacher, too, so that's an instant trip to the princ. ofc.)

    Good luck! And hugs for difficult child. No one deserves to be belittled like that.
  10. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    :grrr: No one has the right to be a bully, not even a fellow difficult child. :nonono:
    You need to address this firmly with the school because this other child is causing your son harm . There is no excuse for it. :mad:
  11. oceans

    oceans New Member

    Everyone else has said it so well. Just stopping in for support and hoping it gets resolved.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Ditto, oceans. I don't think I need to repeat everyone else.

    One thing, though - it happened to us, a lot. difficult child 1 & easy child 2/difficult child 2 had to travel on the bus with a few bullies, one of whom (trying to get a reaction out of our two) said, "You're the ones with the retard little brother."
    My reaction was to write an article in our local paper (not mentioning names, of course) pointing out that parents should be careful what they say in front of their kids, because it was clear to me that in this case it was parental misunderstanding that was colouring their son's perceptions. And it was also a statement born of their son's fear, that HE wasn't bright either, and had to put someone else down even more so he could feel better about himself.

    difficult child 3 also got into trouble for calling a bully, ":censored2: retard" and was told by his teacher that calling kids names like this would not help him make friends. She then reported it to me in his Communication Book. I wrote back, "He doesn't hear words like this at home, as you well know. He used those words to hurt someone because those same words were used on him. The 'retard' tag should have been obvious - he is a target for labels like that, yet you blame HIM without asking where he heard it first? Did you ever consider that the kid who got the word thrown at him was the one who used it on him in the first place?"
    I'm not saying your son was the instigator - when words like "retard" are used TO difficult children, then generally it's the primary source. When a difficult child uses the word himself as an insult, it's generally a secondary source and their target is a likely primary source.

    Does this make sense?

    It has taken me a long time to convince difficult child 3 that he is a bright kid. Bullies like this can do a lot of harm. But as he has begun to accept that he is intelligent, he has begun to USE it more and really try hard with schoolwork. Frankly, we had to leave mainstream for this to happen because kids like these bullies are always around, always trying to drag other people down so THEY don't get shown up as inadequate. Tell your son t hat if he's being bullied by this horror, that he is clearly doing something right for himself because this kid can't stand comparison with him.

    And yes, it's time to step in. If your son cops it worse as a result of your intervention, put your steel-capped boots on and kick HARD, all the way to the top. Good Morning America, if you have to. been there done that, very satisfying when the bullies finally back off because you can kick back harder (and more appropriately) than they can.

  13. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just want to add my agreement. I know as a teacher I would want to know and the bullies, myself and the principal would be having a chat. As everyone said no bullying is o.k.
  14. needabreak

    needabreak New Member

    hearing that children can say things like this is so hutful.i was teased all the time when i was younger for being overwight and words do hurt.these children doing this should be disaplined and know saying things like that are wrong.thingd like that can scar children i know it did me.
  15. On_Call

    On_Call New Member

    Gosh, thanks for the support everyone!

    I have been a having a problem with our internet feed - it seems to work for a few moments at a time. I get on here and begin to read some posts and get booted off - I have just seen all of your responses to my "bully" post of late in the week.

    I'm glad to know that it's not just me who had the immediate thought that I had to call. I want difficult child to be able to handle his own problems/situations, but I am in total agreement that he has not learned all of the tools yet, although he is on his way.

    I called the program Friday, but the Clinical Advisor was out for a medical appointment (there was no school). I will call again Monday.

    Probably the part that concerned me most was that difficult child was self-blaming himself for the harsh words and treatment. That was hardest to hear and hardest to talk him out of. I told him in no uncertain terms that no annoying behavior he does warrants treatment like that from a peer. Poor kid's self-esteem has taken such a lengthy hard hit over the years that he believes he deserves to be called those things and treated that way. Makes me very sad.

    I know kids can be mean - I had my fair share of "jerk" classmates, but nothing like they behave today. UGH!

    Thanks again for the support. I will let you know what transpires.
  16. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">just a mom who expects proper treatment of your child while in their care. Hold them accountable.</div></div>

    I agree completely with this statement.

    I was teased, and bullied, through out my school years. The wounds have healed. However, the scars remain.

    I believe that schools are accountable for the treatment of our children while at school. And you know what? I really don't give a rats patootie about the feelings of the bullies and why they do it. It's cruel and disgusting behavior and I will not tolerate it if I become aware of it.

    Both Daughter and Son have been teased. Middle school years were just awful for Daughter. Son gets called a geek (he wears glasses) and just last week some little creep made a very mean remark about him in front of the whole classes (which got lots of laughs). I about became unglued when found out about it and had to detach and allow the teacher to handle it.

    Other students know that Son is "odd", but for the most part can blend in with other kids. I worry for him next year when he will no longer be under my wing at middle school.

    Does your district have a anti-bullying policy?
  17. On_Call

    On_Call New Member

    Our general ed school district has a zero tolerance for this type of thing - but I'm afraid to say that they seemingly have a zero tolerance for 'tattling' as well. What is up with the no tattling thing? How are the kids supposed to figure out what's important enough to go to a staff member about - especially our difficult children? Drives me crazy.

    difficult child is now in a collaborative day program, where you would think they would stress the negativity of speaking to each other in this manner, but apparently it seems that if they don't hear it directly, they don't want to hear about it at all.

  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    What is up with the no tattling thing? How are the kids supposed to figure out what's important enough to go to a staff member about - especially our difficult children? Drives me crazy.

    Me too!
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    From my observations, when a school has a high priority on "no tattling" then anything they claim about also being "zero tolerance on bullying" it total, unadulterated *&^%*&*.

    You can't have both. To claim both, or to insist on "no tattling" is pure laziness on the part of the school staff. It then becomes institutionalised bullying and you rapidly descend into William Golding territory (aka "Lord of the Flies").

    Children should not be expected to instantly understand how to deal with bullying themselves, appropriately. Nor should they be expected to understand the difference between telling an adult about something that is really distressing them, and simply trying to get someone else into trouble.

    What may seem minor issues to an adult can be huge to a kid. Concerns shouldn't be automatically dismissed, nor should a child be automatically chastised for bringing a concern to a teacher. If, after the teacher checks it out, it is clear that the child IS 'tattling', or merely trying to get another kid into trouble and the story doesn't stack up, then it falls back on the teacher to try to sort out WHY a child is apparently falsely reporting. But if it's true, and extenuating circumstances have been explored and found wanting, then careful supervision is still needed to make sure the teacher has a full understanding. Sometimes apparent tattling can be a sign that something nastier is happening but the child simply is unable to fully explain the whole picture.

    OK, I'm preaching to the converted here. We're all on the same side. So how do we convince schools like this to be fair?

  20. On_Call

    On_Call New Member

    I spoke with the collaborative day coordinator this morning and expressed my feelings regarding the situation and am pleased to report that he took it very seriously. He said that it will stop - that it is totally unacceptable and harassment.

    He said that he was going to address it with the kids in group and individually. He also said that he is going to reiterate to the staff that this type of behavior is not to be brushed off and that in no uncertain terms are they to employ a "no tattling" policy!

    Imgaine my awe at having myself pumped up for a calm but firm discussion - only to have him be in total agreement with me! :nonono: It's nice to be on the same page - thank God it happens at least some of the time, right?

    I had a Mom's Nite Out tonight, so didn't get to talk to difficult child about it, but am sure he will approach me about it. He's pretty sharp - he will know that I talked to counselor about it.