Friday, May 20, 2011

Dealing With Bullies: Reader Response

Meet Corrine. Corrine is one of my best friends and the inspiration behind my post "Dealing With Bullies". No, not because Corrine is a bully, but because her son is having a hard time with bullies at school.

Josh is one of the most kindhearted kids you will ever meet, but he is different and the kids at school know that: Josh has autism. Here are Corrine's words on what it is like to be a parent of a bullied child.

Guest Writer: Corrine Foster

My beautiful son was born 12 years ago, in Oct of 1998 and we were thrilled to have a son. He was healthy and happy! By the age of 3 he started to exhibit some differences that we weren’t used to seeing: he could quote entire movies, sing songs he’d only heard once and memorize amazing facts about animals. We took him to the Dr and at the age of 5 received a diagnosis that our son had a form of Autism called Asperger’s. By Joshua’s outward appearance he is normal, however when he opens his mouth to speak you can tell that he functions at a different level.

He loves animals, to be outside, swimming, riding his bike, camping, music, video games and to be around other people - but at a distance. To know my son is love my son: you can’t help it. He has an inner strength that baffles me. He never picks on others and is quick to help someone in need. Those are attributes that I wish others possessed in being around my son. 

My son is different and has been the target of ridiculing and bullying for many years. It is heart breaking to love someone and have to continually send them to school where other children make fun of him, try to demean him and break his spirit. We have tried to work with Joshua to get him to understand that he is different: he looks like a duck (just like the other kids) but when they all quack he moos or barks.  There is nothing wrong with him he’s just different. I mean, after all, aren’t we all different! No two people are alike, but yet when we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see we automatically try to find fault with someone else.

I guess the blessing in my case is that for the most part Joshua doesn’t understand that people are picking on him. When they ask him to do silly things so they can laugh he doesn’t understand these kids aren’t your friends, these people are making fun of you. I wish that everyone could see people as they are and celebrate the strength’s we possess. Bullying is very real, it hurts and can leave emotional scars: some kids even opt out of life and look for other alternatives to ending their pain.
As a parent please be aware of the difficulties your child faces and make yourself available to talk and be open about all subject matters. You are always going to be the biggest advocate and supporter of your child. Don’t be afraid to call the school, other parents, a therapist, whomever you need to help your child. Growing up is a tough process and we need to know there are always going to be bully’s out there. Your child is special and has talents and something to offer the world, stand up to the bully’s and offer as much love and support to your child as you can. The pond is full of ducks and no two are alike. 

Now get quacking!!


  1. Though provoking stuff. I sympathize with you as a parent of a kid who is bullied, and with Josh as the victim of bullying.

    It makes me wonder: how does one solve the problem of bullying at the source? In other words, can you keep a kid from becoming a bully, or is it just something certain kids will always do?

  2. Very important message Corrine! I would also add that all of need to talk to our children about how to respond if the see other children bullying. Also - to search out those that are left out and not being included. We are all brothers and sisters.....and thank goodness we are all different and unique - variety is the spice of life!!

  3. I will never forget the day when my son who at the time was in the 5th grade came home so excited yelling, "mom, mom, I have a friend"! I was brought to tears. Jeff Cheney was/is that friend and it was a sincere friendship. Not a friendship for what he could take but what he could give. He will never know what that kindness meant to a young boy who struggled much like Josh. (Not to mention what it did for me as his mother) A boy who spent many days very sad and a victim of bullies.

    I absolutely love the Fosters and their son Josh. We have been there and completely understand. I only hope that a "Jeff Cheney" will come into Josh's life as well.

    Thanks Jeff!

  4. Lisa, you just made me cry a little. We love Jordan, and Josh, so much that it really is hard for me to see them treated in such a manner. I love what Corrine said; "I wish that everyone could see people as they are and celebrate the strengths we posses". EVERYONE has potential, they just need the right person to help them achieve it.

    I really hope these posts are helping to motivate people to talk with their children on this subject. It is a real problem that can be changed - one person at a time.

  5. Did you know that the tendency to bully is genetic? At the school I work at bullying has a no tolerance policy. If you are caught bullying you are automatically suspended. We had some seminars on bullying and though it may be genetic in some cases I, like Aaron, wonder how to stop it. We all have tendencies to do a lot of things but can control them. I personally think Corrine is right. I think that it is a matter of parents being open with their children. However, those parents need to not be bullies themselves which working at an elementary school I find is most often the problem. When you think of bullies your mind goes most often to playgrounds or school hallways but the reality is that many grown adults are teaching the behavior displayed by children.
    As a parent of a child that has been bullied on the playground it just makes me so angry. I admire Corrine's good natured attitude because I just got angry. I hate when anyone picks on anyone and I always will go to the mat for the person who looks defenseless. Sorry I'll stop ranting now.:)