Thursday, June 3, 2010


This week I have finally experienced what it is to see your child bullied. I have seen my children left out, ignored, overlooked, and feelings hurt. However, I have never seen any of them actively bullied until this week.

Of course it was Alex who was the victim as my other kids are much more able to stand up for themselves and Ben in particular would be likely to kick someone's ass who gave him a hard time.

Alex insisted on playing lacrosse this spring, I think mostly because Isaac is playing and he really looks up to his older brothers, especially Isaac. So...I was a little leary, lacrosse being a somewhat aggressive, difficult sport and probably not the best choice for a young child with motor planning and sensory processing difficulties. However, he REALLY wanted to play and I didn't want to discourage him. And of course, there are several boys on his team who are the uber-athletic type (even at age 6) and have no patience for kids who are less, ahem, athletic. To be fair, Alex has done better than I anticipated. He certainly does not stand out as the worst kid on the team. However, when kids pick on him, he responds inappropriately which makes him more of a target. More socially aware kids would keep their mouths shut or just tell the kid to shove it. Alex is more likely to lecture or cry. Can you say "Target"????

So at practice, I began to see one child in particular shove Alex or whack him with his lacrosse stick each time he came near. Then I heard the taunts. And the way the other, less dominant kids started staying clear of Alex, not wanting to be associated with him and therefore the target of taunting as well. Alex has taken it pretty well, considering. He says he still likes lacrosse, just not his team.

Now he wants to play tackle football like his older brothers. This may be wrong on my part, but I insisted on soccer, for now (he has played in the past and it is a much more civilized environment for young children). I (not Alex, me!!) need a break from the bullies and their parents who do nothing to stop it. So...this is one of those parenting dilemmas that is really a judgment call and I may be really screwing it up. But I am opting for a peaceful soccer season and putting off football for at least another year. Alex is one of those kids teetering between the special needs world and the "normal kid" one. He doesn't completely fit into either one. So I feel the need to find the soft spots for him for at least a little while longer. Whether this is "right" or "wrong", I don't know, I am going with my gut on this one!!


  1. Kris my heart sank when I read the title of this post
    I TOTALLY think you are doing the right thing BTW
    "Follow the child's lead" is a really good principle in general but I think you are spot on with wanting to provide that safety net

  2. GRRRRRRRR!!! I hate the situation you describe! I know EXACTLY what you mean and I just don't understand it. At the age your son is (and my son was) it should be the time when coaches are teaching kids the meaning of being on a TEAM, not potential professional athletes. I know these coaches are usually volunteers and I appreciate their contribution of time but athletics for kids should be a place to build character and learn how to get along and support other people. To be mocked and harassed by your own teammate is unacceptable, and you're right, parents should be watching how their kids behave, not just how far they can shoot a puck or throw or hit a ball. I spent one season of my son's baseball standing behind his team's dug out monitoring and controlling these rotten kids treatment of each other. It was sickening to be honest, how they'd taunt, get physical and ridicule the kids who weren't the "star" players.

    I think you're doing exactly the right thing Kris.

  3. I want to wrap my arms around you in a big hug. I know this feeling too well. My son doesn't fit in with either group as well. It's hard because he wants to play sports. Some days he does great and others are a sensory nightmare... I think I would have made the same decision you did about soccer vs. football. Good luck - I hope things get better for you and your son!

  4. Oh Kris. That is so hard. As long as Alex is enjoying it then you should keep trying to find a way for him to be part of it. It's not easy but I tell these boys (and their parents, coaches, teachers and anyone else I can think of) when they are not doing the right thing. It's too easy to think that the problem is with your son when all that's needed is tolerance and understanding.