Wordy Wednesday: bullying vs Rude vs Mean


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Ugh! I want to pull my hair out. First spring break and now some random state holiday. These kids need to be back in school. They are getting on each other’s nerves and mine. Every 5 seconds it’s “he did this….” Or “she did that…”. They keep picking on each other and everyone’s tempers are thin. I don’t know how many times my kids have approached me this past week and I have that ask them if they are tattling or reporting. However, the positive is that- they are learning the difference. Want to teach your kids the difference? See here how I did it.

It has been a learning process over the years to figure out how best each child learns. It took me a while and even now I get confused on who learns best which way. Because of course it can’t be the same for everyone.

Those moments was brought on one day at our doctor. We went to a appointment and the nurse triaging me asked how I learned best. I stopped and had to think about it. Telling me didn’t work; I’m a visual learner. She gave me the choices and I told her it was all of them. I asked what that meant. She explained that if they ever need to teach me how to administer a drug or treatment they will be able to do it in a way I will understand. Why did that shock me so? Its brilliance. So I got to thinking why don’t teachers stop and asses which child learns what ways. It might help millions of children excel in school and life better. However, since I can’t impact that many children, I can at least set mine up for success. I realized I can teach them in their best learning style, and once they are older I can teach them the best way for them to study. But until then they will stand next to me while I’m on the couch tattle telling or reporting on each other.

I finally had enough of them and sent them to their rooms for some quiet separate time. However, before my son left, he let out one of those replies that makes your blood boil as a parent. My mom referred to it as the “f” word; FINE! Oh hell no, you just did not throw that word at me little boy. But, oh sure enough he did. His eye brows went up and his eyes got huge as he saw that look of evil spread across my face.

He walked over to me, head hung low, and said he was sorry. I stopped even madder now. Does he even know why he is apologizing? No, he just saw my reaction and via all our social stories and experiences, knows that face means he is in trouble. Autism, sometimes I hate you.

I ask him why he apologized. He said because he knew I was mad. I asked him if he knew why I was. He said because “I don’t know”. I tell him what he said was rude to me. I asked him if he knew what that meant. He replied “mean”. I stopped and had to think about it. Rude does mean mean; but it means more than that.

I started getting angry with myself. I realized I had never explained to him what rude and mean meant. How can I be mad at him for not teaching him yet we don’t talk like that. I simply can’t. No one can. So I stood there trying to find the right explanation of the word. It was hard. And I basically skirted around it. I just didn’t have a good answer. So I had to find one.

First thing was I knew I could not define the word with the word itself. So I can’t say mean means mean. Instead due to Bug’s way of learning, I needed to come up with concrete examples and definitions. While looking around I ran across this article by Signe Whitson, written a few years back.

She writes about the differences between bullying, mean and rude. Perfect! And since we are school age now it is great to teach them about bullying.

The one thing I want to also teach my children is how to recognize what bullying is. We all know how being bullied can effect ones ego and self esteem; but if one of your deficiencies is social how are you going to realize you are being bullied? It’s a horrible set of circumstances. I have already seen it happen to my children and seen what it can do when they don’t understand what is going on.

Here is another resource our ABA gave to me today:

www.socialthinking.com– super flex

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