Thursday, July 21, 2011

My children

When it comes to bullying, I am very well aware that both my children could be at risk for this sooner or later. Both of them are my angels, but they have very different and distinct personalities that I believe could become a problem at some point. Knowing that, I make sure to spend a lot of time with them together and separately, to teach them how to build their self confidence and how to interact appropriately with their peer groups. I think we often forget how to do this because we (as their parents) think they are already perfect and why would anyone want to hurt them purposely?

My Son

Dylan is 6 years old, and is a complete mamma's boy. He loves to cuddle with me, read with me, and whenever he wants something, I am the parent he goes to most often first. The moments spent with his father, are the manly projects such as helping his father with his race car. He loves to get greasy and get a tool that he is allowed to use and the two of them have this father/son moment that no one can take away. It's very precious.

However, my son has issues. At the beginning of last year, I had to take him to therapy because he was acting out at home, and I had no idea what was going on. He was perfect in school, but would have a meltdown every morning and every afternoon when he got home. I was thinking he had hearing problems or had autistic tendencies, but when I had him evaluated, all of those things came back negative. We were referred to a therapist, who diagnosed him with having an adjustment disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, verbal obsessive-compulsive disorder, along with some anxiety issues. Whew!!

What this means, is that Dylan needs structure in his little world. He needs a schedule, and he needs to know what is going on at all times. If something is going to happen that is out of the ordinary, we have to tell him in advance so he can process it before it happens. When he comes home from school, he needs time to de-stress, because of being overstimulated during school. We give him this time without talking to him, and he will either go to his room and play with something, or to the toyroom/tv room to watch television by himself. After about 30 minutes, he has pulled himself together, and he joins the family. If we try talking to him during this time frame, he will have a meltdown.

He is very sensitive, and he needs everything to be orderly and fair. He has anger issues at times, and this is what scares me. If he's angry at 6 years old, what will happen with him when he is junior high or high school? Will this be the child who is the bully, or the one who is bullied? He's impulsive in his actions when he's angry. He is never physically out of control, but he can yell and scream with the best of them. I always know when something is wrong with him. He doesn't like to talk about things until he has time to process it. If we push him, then he cries and shuts down.

This last week, his sister spent some time away from home with a friend of hers for 3 days. Dylan almost had a meltdown because he didn't think that was fair, and he wanted to be with her. I proposed that we have mommy/son time together and he could choose what he would like to do. He was ecstatic about this. He chose to go to the pool with me, and I took him out to lunch. I also colored with him and played games, and we watched movies together. He felt as if he were the most important boy during those three days, and I know that was important for him. In doing these things with him, it increased his self esteem and showed him that he is a special person. I know that is the best feeling in the world for him.

My daughter

Alicia is 10 years old, and she is my drama queen. She cries at the drop of a hat (just like her mother), but is also a very compassionate young lady. She's growing so fast, and has started all areas of puberty except for mother nature, which I am sure will happen this summer. She's tall and skinny, and absolutely beautiful. Sometimes I forget that she's only 10 years old, and when I have said to her, "stop acting like a child!" she will scream at me and say, "But I AM a child!!" Oops. Sometimes I forget that, because she can act so mature at times.

Ali has a heart of gold. She has seen and heard me talk about bullying issues and how we need to treat everyone with respect. She has taken the caretaker role in school with a young boy who is a bit slower than everyone else. She helps him and encourages him to play with her and her friends when he looks lonely. She helps him with this assignments when she has completed hers, and she is just generally a sweet little girl. She likes everyone, and most of the time everyone likes her. Last year however, there was one girl in her class who did not like Alicia, and that just tore her world up. She couldn't understand it, and would try anything to get this little girl to like her. I finally had to explain to her that we don't have to like everyone we meet. Sometimes personalities just clash, and there's nothing that we can do about it. I told her that she had done nothing wrong, but we cannot make someone like us, no matter how sweet and nice we are. She seemed to understand this, but I know it still hurt her.

Today (since her brother is spending time away from home with his aunt), I took her to get her cell phone activated, took her out to lunch, and we went shopping for school. She had a blast. We talked about school starting and about bullying issues. I asked her what she thought bullying was, and she explained it all to me accurately. I do not believe that Alicia would ever bully someone, but I do believe that there is a possibility that she could become a victim of bullying due to her compassion and sincerity.

The purpose of this post, is that we as parents need to acknowledge that our children may or may not be a victim of bullying or become a bully themselves and we need to be prepared for that. As I stated before, we think that our children are perfect and they would never engage in such inappropriate behavior. However, our children are sponges....they soak up everything we say and do, and it is OUR responsibility to teach them the right way.

Children learn what they live.

Thank you.


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