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The milk of human kindness

mikedobsonmikedobson Posts: 186
edited August 2008 in The bottom bracket
My son has learning difficulties. Today, at 14, he went to school on the school bus for the first time. This is a major achievement for him. Last night he had his picture taken for the pass and he spruced himself up and put on his favourite clothes. He was really proud of his pass. He went to the bus stop polished and confident. It was heartwarming.

He came home shattered. A girl had said to him "Why aren't you on the retard bus, this one's for normal people."

Now the cute response to something like that would be to invert the argument and throw it back. Something along the lines of "If you're an example of normal I think I'd rather be on the other bus." The very human response would be for me, his father, to hunt down her father (assuming she knows who he is) and beat him up. God forgive me, right now that feels like the very right response. My son of course has no such recourse. His choice is limited to digesting the hurt, recognising that the world is full of callous people and reflecting on the fact that he has been dealt an unfair and difficult hand and that life is likely to be full of these instances. He doesn't feel good. He may not go back on the bus. Some of you might argue that he should go back and he should confront her but, he doesn't have the verbal dexterity to win and a defeat against such a person would hurt him far far more. Aside from the verbal dexterity he doesn't have another key attribute: he's not a viscious human being. It would horrify him to see anyone treating someone else how he has been treated. He would stand up for someone else. He has, despite his manifold challenges that rarest of human commodities, integrity.

He is not normal, he will strive in his life to be like other people but from where I'm sitting the world would be a better place if more people strove to be like him.
Character Fully Formed - please send no more problems.

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  • console yourself (I know its hard, because you want to take all the pain for him) with the knowledge that what comes round goes round, when I was at school I was bullied because as a result of having almost every illness known to boys!! I was always small and under weight for my age. I left school at 15 and served my time on building sites as an apprentice joiner and as a result ended up with muscles on my muscles and was treated by everyone with due repect. I would like to say I ran into some of the bullies later and said do you fancy a go now, but sadly that was just a scenario I kept in my head (best place for it).
    but what I have noticed is when ever I see any of my contempories (I'm 58 ) they all look older than me,( and thats not just me saying it), nowhere near as fit as me, and their wives if they have one, cant hold a candle to mine, (probably because she's 12 yrs younger than me. I take my leave of them and go away with the smug feeling that there is a God after all !!!!
    ' From the sharks in the penthouse,
    to the rats in the basement,
    its not that far '
  • mikedobsonmikedobson Posts: 186
    thank you. good insight. good story too!
    Character Fully Formed - please send no more problems.
  • don't know where the emoticon came in its supposed to say 58.

    If I may just add, though it was the boys who were dishing out the punishment it was alwas the girls who could be the most cutting, I think its a phase they go through as I love em all now !!
    ' From the sharks in the penthouse,
    to the rats in the basement,
    its not that far '
  • andrewjosephandrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    Life is hard, kids are cruel bastards, but then by definition, they are not grown up and don't/can't control themselves in the same manner as a 'grown up'.

    You can't completely protect your kids from this sort of thing, my daughter was born profoundly deaf, this led to poor language abilities. most hearing people think the deaf have learning difficulties too, but it is just the language problem.

    I remember the pain we all felt when my daughter came home from school crying because she had been pelted with eggs by a few local kids, one of which was a kid she thought was her friend.

    Have a word with the school, a stern warning from the headmaster to all the kids during assembly can work wonders.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • FSR_XCFSR_XC Posts: 2,258
    Not a particularly nice story. I can only imagine how hard it is to say something that could console him.

    My immediate thought was 'I saw you and automatically thought this was the right bus'

    Good luck getting him on the bus.
    Stumpjumper FSR 09/10 Pro Carbon, Genesis Vapour CX20 ('17)Carbon, Rose Xeon CW3000 '14, Raleigh R50

    http://www.visiontrack.com
  • BigJimmyBBigJimmyB Posts: 1,302
    Kids can be ar$eholes can't they?

    I know neither of you so don't know how you can handle it, but perhaps you can explain to him that he (and you) have to rise above it. Then maybe try to get him back on the bus and tell him to just ignore her. When she doesnt get a rise, she'll hopefully STFU and leave him alone.
  • mikedobsonmikedobson Posts: 186
    FSR_XC

    Now that's a great response!

    Thank you
    Character Fully Formed - please send no more problems.
  • fizzfizz Posts: 483
    Kids are nasty. I cant offer any words of wisdom I got bullied very badly at school. I tried to ignore it or reply with a clever come back, it never worked the only thing that did was my fist in the bullies face. When the group that were bullying me realised I would fight back they stopped and found an easier target. I also knocked one of them out with one punch. I'm not very proud of what I did, but it did mean I got left alone.

    All you can do I think is to maybe pre arm your son with some witty retorts such as suggested above so he can fire them out as he needs to. But I'd be trying the ignoring it route first as if they dont get a rise out of him they might find an easier target.
  • mikedobsonmikedobson Posts: 186
    you guys are great, thanks
    Character Fully Formed - please send no more problems.
  • mikedobsonmikedobson Posts: 186
    in a way the title of the post is more appropriate than I realised.
    Character Fully Formed - please send no more problems.
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    I can't imagine what you are going through as I am lucky enough to have a 'normal'(whatever that is) son. He has been bullied but not to any extent and is quite happy dealing with it himself.
    The important thing is your son has a loving and caring parent who I am sure means more to him than any body else, so he has the comfort of a 'port in a storm'. I doubt that the other child in question has the same level of parental involvement.
    As others have said 'what goes around, comes around'
  • fossyantfossyant Posts: 2,549
    Don't forget to have a 'word' with the school - they usually take this sort of 'abuse' seriously.

    It doesn't have to be a targeted response, but they'll usually remind kids that we are all not the same etc. and some kids find learning more difficult than others.

    Most kids are sh!ts to each other anyway.....
  • Harry BHarry B Posts: 1,239
    Good idea to have a chat with the school as long as they are capable of handling this sensitively. Eventually the kids involved will look back on their behaviour and be ashamed. If they don't then they're not really worth a place on the planet frankly.

    All the best for your son Mike, he's worth 10 of them twats!
  • scapaslowscapaslow Posts: 305
    Hi Mike

    As others have said it would be good to contact the school. Perhaps they have some kind of "buddy" system where senior pupils look out for juniors who need a bit of help/support. This type of thing seems to be widespread in many areas. You never know maybe one of the buddies might be on the bus and could help out? Worth a try. I'm sure the school will be supportive in any case.

    One of my boys has just started at a big secondary school coming from a friendly rural primary and I hope he avoids the bullies. It's always a worry.

    One thing to remember (although it doesn't always seem that way) is the majority of kids are nice decent children. Most bullies have some home/background problems and a lack of love/attention which turns them to bullying to get noticed. So your son has got plenty going for him.

    Still, it doesn't stop you wanting to punch the morons on his behalf. All the best.
  • hobbescphobbescp Posts: 197
    Really sorry to hear about this incident.

    Back at school we used to go to church in the morning before class and each day the dapper or another teacher would read a sermon / lesson. One that has stuck in my mind was an account, like yours, given by one teacher whose young son had cerebral palsy. He talked about how he had overheard a child calling his son a 'spastic'. He was incandescent with rage but, thankfully, his years of teaching experience came into play. He took the child aside and explained, in no uncertain terms, about his son's condition and that what he had just done was disgraceful and completely unnacceptable. He wasn't sure if the child took it in (but it helped him calm down at least!). The lesson was made pretty clear to all of us sat in church that morning - next time you open your mouth to denigrate someone by calling them a retard or a spastic think twice...and understand that everyone is capable of remarkable things, it's just that the bar is set a little lower or higher for different people.

    Don't forget, your kid is lucky in lots of ways, he's obviously got a good dad behind him.
  • fizzfizz Posts: 483
    scapaslow wrote:
    Most bullies have some home/background problems and a lack of love/attention which turns them to bullying to get noticed.

    I'm not so sure on this, I think sometimes kids are just evil little sh*tes. Alot of the kids who bullied me at school came from a good background with parents in a stable relationship, stable family background etc etc. I just got bullied, because I was shy and quiet and wore glasses and liked to do my own thing and didnt follow the crowd. I made the fatal mistake of standing out of the crowd but I didnt do it in a "cool" way and drew attention to myself which meant I got picked on. Both physical and mental. It only took one or two people to start and then everybody joined in as it meant that the main bullies did then pick on them instead. It really effected me and I still have issues in certain situations particularly conflict at work or arguments that I dont respond well to and I'll retreat into myself because of it.

    My parents told me not to fight back and I got brought up to believe that fighting with your fists is wrong. I do still hold to this way of life, but sometimes there is no substitue for a good hard punch in the face, but I would only do this after I had been thumped or spat on ( yes it used to happen )
    scapaslow wrote:
    So your son has got plenty going for him.

    Definately, he told you about it for a start, I never told my parents about what used to happen to me. I never really told anybody about it I just used to take it. It only came to light when I knocked a kid out after he started on me one day. Then I got hauled to the headmistress and got b*ll*cked about it and then I told her about what had been happening for years and then the school still didnt do anything about it.

    Being aware of it happening and teaching your kids how to deal with it, is by far and away the best thing you can do.

    sorry for the rant, its just s subject I feel strongly about. Nobody should have to go through what I did when I was growing up.
  • Hi there!just a short tale to make you smile. I have worked with kids and adults with learning disabilities for many years,in a pub with a client with cerebral palsy,a caring (?) member of the public came up,patted him on the head and asked"whats the matter with him then?" the clients reply?"I'M A F*CKING SPASTIC! huge laugh from his mates,very embarrassed person hopefully learned a lesson.lots of people are just ignorant,some plain nasty,I wish you and your son all the best.
    If you're a foot then I'm your sock,so wear me well!
  • scapaslowscapaslow Posts: 305
    Sorry to hear your story Fizz. I guess you are right - some are just evil and have no excuse. But why do good kids from good stable backgrounds become bullies?

    My opinion is that the school bullies have a hierarchy - usually led by a serious psycho or two (with a terrible background) who scares the others into joining in the bullying because they believe they are safer in rather than out. No doubt its much more complicated than that.

    Have you ever met some of these so called bullies without the gang? They avoid eye contact and run a mile.

    Well done for daring to be different.

    Sadly a lot of bullying is now settled with knives and guns rather than fists or is that just a media slant?
  • fizzfizz Posts: 483
    scapaslow wrote:
    Sorry to hear your story Fizz. I guess you are right - some are just evil and have no excuse. But why do good kids from good stable backgrounds become bullies?

    I really dont know :cry:
    scapaslow wrote:
    My opinion is that the school bullies have a hierarchy - usually led by a serious psycho or two (with a terrible background) who scares the others into joining in the bullying because they believe they are safer in rather than out. No doubt its much more complicated than that.

    No I dont tihnk it is, I think thats how it starts definately though.
    scapaslow wrote:
    Have you ever met some of these so called bullies without the gang? They avoid eye contact and run a mile.

    Yes I have, as you say, they cant look you in the eye etc etc.
    scapaslow wrote:
    Well done for daring to be different.

    Sadly a lot of bullying is now settled with knives and guns rather than fists or is that just a media slant?

    I wasnt being different I was just being myself. I was a pretty weird kid. I'm still quite weird now mind :D

    I dont know about the knives thing. I do believe there is a lot of media hype about it, but I also tihnk that sadly alot of it goes un-reported to.
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