Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Bus Bully

We're really proud of our CJ. He's come far over the years. I was sitting back today remembering the day he was given his name and blessing as a baby. I remember praying that he'd be blessed with his hearing, and how I just sat in the back row of the church sobbing as I listened to his loving father bless him with the gift of Deafness. In that moment, I knew that he was the child we were meant to have. I didn't have any idea in the world how we'd rise to the occasion of raising this precious, quiet child. I wondered how his Deafness would ever be a gift of any kind. If I'd only known then what I know now, my heart would have been rejoicing over the opportunities I'd been granted to parent this amazing spirit.

CJ's hearing loss has forced him to be strong-willed and determined if he wanted to find his own voice. And find it he has. He has impeccable speech, an amazing thought process, and is in most senses a typical child. (If there is any such thing as a "typical child" in the first place).

With all the wonderful things CJ has going for him, there is still some opposition in his life. Let's be honest, though. There is opposition in all things, right? For CJ, the greatest trial right now is learning to relate to peers his own age. CJ doesn't always understand what other kids are trying to convey to him. He especially struggles to understand sarcasm. Additionally, he seeks out the good in everyone and is sometimes overly trusting. This has gotten him into some trouble recently with a bully on the bus.

The thing is that he didn't know he was being bullied by the other child until the other kid came right out and threatened him. He knew he didn't like that the other kid kept stealing his books from him. He knew the other dude made mean faces at him, but he didn't really understand what it meant. Luckily, he has some friends on the bus who did understand what was happening. Being that they are girls and in kindergarten, these little friends made sure they told me all about it. My radar was already on alert when CJ came home and told me that the kid said he'd "punch his eyes out" if he accidentally bumped into the the other kids' backpack when the bus went over a bump again. At that point, CJ understood what was going on.

He told me what happened and that he was scared to go on the bus again since he was assigned to share a seat with the other kid. He was able to let me know that he didn't like it that the other boy was taking his books, and that he wanted him to stop.

What CJ didn't understand is that he can stand up for himself. I contacted the school and the situation has been rectified. Apparently the other child is having a lot of issues at home that are spilling over into his schooling, so we're hoping things get better for him in general. More importantly, CJ has learned that he can say something to the bus driver, his teacher, or even to a person who is bullying him to help make it stop.

This is obviously something that CJ will need to work on over time, and his speech teacher at school is going to work with him to help him learn more about what messages others are sending with their words. She'll help him learn some coping mechanisms and what to say in these situations. Hopefully this is the last we'll hear from this particular bus bully, and the start to a lifelong skill of self-advocacy for CJ.

1 comment:

  1. I have an irrational fear of the school bus- Matt will start riding it next year, and I am so worried about the Lord of the Flies environment on so many school buses! You are such a good mom to teach CJ how to stand up for himself and how to deal with this situation. All kids face bullies at some point in their lives, and learning how to stand your ground and advocate for yourself is a vital skill! Those little girls are wonderful kids- kudos to them for standing up for what was right!