Reply To: Birthday party heartbreak

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Rhonda Henry

Kids can be so mean. The teachers don’t help when they are singling out kids in class for behavior issues either. We’ve experienced this over the school year. My son is finishing up the 4th grade and just turned 10 last week. We can talk to the teachers about bullying, but in a way, they are contributing because of how they deal with any of the issues our ADHD children experience day to day. My son has been removed from 2 teachers since he started public school in the 1st grade. This year, the school moved him with my approval. His teacher this year seemed to make my son the martyr in class. It was so sad to see his desk facing the back of the class, hearing how he’s always moved to the computer pod to complete classwork, and behaviors being pointed out in front of the entire class. The other kids feed off this and started treating my son badly, more so than previous years.

About the birthdays, I stopped doing whole class invites. It’s too risky, plus possibly way too expensive. We had one birthday that didn’t have a good turnout, 2 friends showed up, but mainly because his choice of parties was beach the 1st weekend in June……June gloom took over & it was freezing…….we found people are afraid of being cold & can’t handle being at the beach. We don’t do June beach birthdays anymore. I direct him with the invites, still making it his choice, but limiting the number of friends he can invite. This avoids the low/no turnout let down. He always leans towards the friends he’s close to and thankfully, they always show up.

I’ve come to the realization that I cannot stop the bullying, I cannot put my son in a bubble, nor can I be there every day to help him with social queues and thinking before he speaks or acts. I’m now focusing on teaching him how to cope with it. I try to have conversations almost daily, even if there wasn’t an incident, just to put that seed in his brain. I explain that bullies usually have issues happening at home that we don’t know about and will never see, but this is why they pick on other kids. If you don’t like something, walk away……adding a little something to conclude the interaction as he walks away, “I’m better than that.” Most of what I’m telling him now, won’t really sink in right away, but I’m noticing how he remembers and picks up what I am saying.

This all scares the crap out of me as a mother with a child in this internet age of not only face to face bullies, but cyber bullies. A friend’s 14 year old daughter killed herself because of this type of new age bullying along with depression. My son & I frequently have conversations about all of this stuff. I’m constantly reminding him how his behavior affects his peers and ask him if that is how he would want his friends to act with him. Every decision has a consequence whether good or bad. His decisions affect how others will react too which can be part of the consequence of a bad decision.

It’s a work in progress, but I think teaching him coping skills is the key. My son is also in cub scouts and has recently started working with horses taking riding lessons and learning how to care for something much larger than himself. I’m hoping as the riding lessons continue, I start seeing a more confident kiddo.

I’m so sorry that your child had to experience that on his day. But behind that disappointed child is an awesome parent. Kuddos to you for being there and reaching out for advice!

Good luck with future birthdays and events!