My Daughter Unknowingly Bullied A Special Needs Kid

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I got ready for our next talk, armed with a new more explanatory strategy. I tried to keep my voice calm, so that I didn’t sound angry or condemning. It was difficult, because I was really horrified at the idea that my daughter made a special needs child cry. Twice. She had pointed out her differences in front of all of their friends, causing another little girl to feel upset and left out. It’s exactly what we don’t want our children to do. It is at it’s core, bullying, even if it wasn’t done maliciously. Even if she wasn’t really cognizant of the damage she was doing.

But I had to set all that aside, the worry and distress over my daughter’s actions. I needed to make her understand why it was important. It wasn’t an easy task. She had questions, and I struggled through answers. She got impatient with all of the explaining I was doing. She suggested that we just draw her a card to say, “I’m sorry,” and call it a day half-way through my planned lecture. I compromised by helping with the card but continuing the conversation as we colored.

The good news is that my daughter hasn’t had problems in a week. She seems to be making an extra effort to include Sarah and play with her, even though Brenna’s moved past a lot of the activities that Sarah enjoys. I’m hoping that she understood my message, even though it’s possible that she’s just avoiding getting in trouble again.

I know that this won’t be the last time we go through these conversations. She’ll encounter more people that are different than her, and she’ll ask more questions that are in no way politically correct. And possibly not even kind. It won’t even be the last time that she hurts someone else’s feelings. And next time she could mean to do it. I’m not trying to act like my daughter will somehow become the perfect, most polite and thoughtful human being to ever live. But I think that should be the goal, right? I should always want to show her the more kind and caring way.

We’ll have lots more talks about bullying with my daughter. It’s a subject that no parent can afford to ignore. But I have to admit, I never guessed that our first talk would cast my daughter as the aggressor, instead of the victim. I had been prepared to protect her, not to teach her a lesson. Now, all I can do is hope that the lesson stuck.

(Photo: fasphotographic/Shutterstock)

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