I want to start out by saying I am not a violent person. I do have a temper, but honestly, I hate drama and I realize that not nobody’s kid is perfect, especially my kid. Kids make mistakes. They push buttons. They can be rude and say things without thinking. But I don’t remember reading in the parenting manual that we have a right to mistreat them, or abuse them verbally. To erode their self-esteem.
I knew that something was wrong the moment my son got home from his grade five camping trip this past week. He was miserable. He was tired. But more than that, he was upset. I could tell. I also knew that getting whatever it was that was bothering him out of him wasn’t going to be easy. Based on his past experiences, my son doesn’t trust other adults. He has good reason, but I’ve always tried to tell him adults aren’t perfect either. Just like kids, we screw up.
And boy did some adults ever screw up this week!
My son had very mild disabilities. But he still interacts with other kids his age just fine and he was really looking forward to spending time with his friends at camp, saying goodbye to elementary school and hello to middle/high school. It’s a big deal. He just can’t do certain things.
For instance his legs get sore if he uses them too much due to his cerebral palsy. The kids in his class are aware and always support him when he has to take breaks or sit down. He is also learning to tie his shoes for the first time at eleven years old. He doesn’t have the dexterity to even hold a pencil right, but he’s pushing through and has been practising a lot to get better at it. I’m so proud of him.
So what happened at camp? Well my son broke down, crying in my arms saying how adults don’t care about kids feelings. They only care about themselves and how some adults were super mean to him while he was away. He said he didn’t want to tattle on them which is when I had to teach my son the difference between telling vs tattling.
What it boils down to is that the kids went on a 2 hours hike. Something hard for my son to do as he has mild cerebral palsy, but he went and after the first hour he stopped because his legs were hurting and asked to take a break. The adult in charge ordered him back in line. Several of his classmates stepped up explaining the issues with my son’s legs. This said adult then turned calling my son lazy, saying nothing was wrong with him and for him to keep moving.
To this adult I want you know that if I come face to face with you, expect me to shove my foot up your arse. How dare you not let my son rest. Never mind his disabilities or not. These are kids! A two hour hike is hard, even for the best of us. A simple who else is tired show of hands, okay lets take a small break wouldn’t have killed you. I don’t care if you had to keep on schedule.
Back in his room, my son went to sleep while the other kids played. He was so tired and said his legs were throbbing. Some kids came to wake him up asking him to play a game. When he found trouble tying his own shoes, one boy bent down to help him. That’s when another adult (a boy’s father) who had volunteered for the trip proceeded to call my son a ‘LADY’ because he couldn’t tie his own shoes, making fun of him and making my son cry. To which he was then called a baby.
To this man I say – thank you very much you asshat! It only took me six months to convince my son to even try tie up shoes to which now I’m hearing I can’t do it, that man is right, I’m stupid, I’m an idiot. I am cordially inviting you to my home so I can kick your bullying ass into orbit for picking on a child. You should be ashamed of yourself!
The only good thing out of all of this is that when we reported it to the school. The principal didn’t even question if my son was lying or not. She knows my son. She took the situation quite seriously. So she should.
In meantime, I’m now left trying to help my son to understand how to deal with adults who bully, and that telling how you feel is so important without worrying about what might happen, especially when someone is hurting him.
The thing that bothers me most. Is that adults should know better. I shouldn’t have to teach my son how to cope with your bad behaviour or your bullying of children. It just shouldn’t happen!