Monday, December 5, 2011

Bullying: a different perspective

Last Thursday my 8 year old son was bullied. In fact he was physically and emotionally assaulted. He is a type 1 diabetic, and as far as I can gather, he was going to the bathroom when a child thought what he saw peeking out of Scooby’s pocket was a game-boy, or a cell phone….
Really it was his Insulin pump that is physically attached to his body via tubing and a small rubber like needle that distributes his Insulin.
The kid asked “whats that”
Being embarrassed my son answered “Nothing.”

And then the child proceeded to grab the pump, rip it off my sons body and run into a stall and lock it. Where he began pushing buttons and ripping the tubing.
Scoobs knowing that his pump saves his life, and took us 3 very long years to afford was panic stricken, begging the child to give it back, pounding on the door.
The child then threw the pump up and it smashed into the ceiling, Scoobs luckily caught it on the other side.
Wanting to get away, and get help, he went to run, as he did the child grabbed Scoobs hoodie from behind pulling it back hard, and choking him in the process.

When I got the phone call, as any Mother bear would be, I was out raged. My eyes saw red. I wanted to swoop in and defend my baby. I wanted punishments and consequences as harsh as possible…and then the first half hour passed, and I began to process the situation. Knowing Scoobs would have HUGE FEELINGS over such a violation, I had to be prepared for how he would feel, how he may act out, and just move time to be there, listen, validate and hold him.

He hadn’t been able to identify his assailant because with Sensory Processing Disorder, he isn’t good with faces, all he could remember was that the kid had a gray sweatshirt on…it took the principle reviewing hallway video tape to figure it out.

He came home, Dad had picked him up, and he had held it together in the car the whole way home, once he got home, the moment he saw me, he collapsed in my arms sobbing, he hiccupped the whole story as best as he could. He had been terrified. He is always afraid of being choked so that part of it had deeply impacted. Most of all he was worried about not having a pump anymore and having to go back to shots. He sobbed and I rocked him The next day we planned swimming lessons and outside time.

He has been angry, he has been weepy, he has been overly sensitive, We have spent hours rocking in my chair. Throwing eggs. Tromping around in the snow….

and I am sure what your next question is….WELL? WHAT happened to the Bully?
Well ……….
Here’s the thing……
As ANGRY, and OUT RAGED, SICK, and so very SAD that this had happened to my vulnerable little boy, I had questions…who is this kid?
Have his parents taught him better?
Did some entitled, overly indulged brat hurt my son?...
has this child, the one that hurt my son so deeply, scared him so very much, could this child be hurting and scared too?

……so many dear friends offered advice, called with expertise, so much GOOD and HELPFUL stuff. There were so many ways for this to go, so many battles and wars I could have begun, filing police reports, calling the district….but  I took a breath and decided to gather more, listen more, figure out more…put the torch and pitch fork down and make some lists of what I wanted to see, what I needed to know, and most of all what would help my son heal….
I didn’t want to engage a battle when my energy needed to be here listening and rocking and being present for Scooby

The principle being an adoptive mother herself and VERY good about understanding special needs, asked what I needed, most of all what my son needed….I wanted her to take both boys in her office and get the whole, true story.
Then call me.
After Scoobs story was validated, I wanted the other Mother to know, and help come up with consequences and retribution. I crossed my fingers she was the type to own up to her childs behavior instead of rationalize it away.

The principle called and told me, “you are going to love this Mom, she wants as many consequences as possible, she wants her son to learn a strong enough lesson, to not do this again. As well as she informed me this little guy was also in fact and older adopted child…..gasp.

The child that hurt and bullied my son was an older adopted child.

Keeping your self in check Linds?
Talk about a swift slap –o- reality, right in the kisser.

Today I sat in the Principles office, next to another Mother doing her best to parent a sibling group adopted out of Foster care. We laughed, we spoke honestly, we shared hurts and concerns, tools and recourses. We agreed on consequences. …We had first had her son come in. I first spoke to him. His sad, beautifully eyelashed eyes looked deep and dark and sad…but most of all afraid.  He was so afraid I was going to be mad…he told his Mom he was afraid I might punch him in the face for hurting my son.
As I gently spoke to him, about Scoobs needing to feel safe, how Scoobs might have felt..I began to see the disconnect , I so often see in my own childs eyes when things get too heavy….and my heart lurched and I just wanted to make things O.K. for him….

Next Scoobs was called in. He was apologized to, they decided that after the destroyed medical stuff was worked off, that this little guy would also find ways to do service for my son. The plan is the next snow, this child will come to my home and shovel the white stuff, which is primarily Scoobs chore.
After some effort and chance to work off his debt, Scooby will join him and help complete the jobs

 Today I saw the world again through a different perspective. If I hadn’t been parenting little bruised hearts and broken brains for so long, I may have missed the opportunity for healing and just wanted self-righteous vengeance for my son…that’s the thing, Bulling, is NEVER O.K. but it is not as black and white as that. Never is. We are all flawed, we all have deep dark hurts, but children from the darkest places, the biggest hurts…they give what they got, and though they need to learn how to make better choices, they also need mercy and love.

I am so sad my son was once again hurt. I am so grateful he sought my arms in comfort.
I am so very sad the boy who hurt my son was hurt so deeply, that his behavior spoke so completely of his pain. I am so grateful I had the life experience to pause, listen and be apart of a whole healing learning experience.
I Hate Bullying….but I love the Bully.


  1. Yet again, another reason why I adore you. I don't think I could have handled it as well. My prayer, though, is through this you found a silver lining in the form of another mama in your area who GETS IT and you might be able to connect with.

  2. I read your blog all the time-my husband and I are journeying down the adopt from foster care path...I usually don't comment, but wanted to let you know I think you used Scooby's real name in the paragraph when you talked to the Principal so you can change it if you want to...

  3. Lindsay - so great that you didn't act in the moment but took time to think and find out. I think that is what listening to the Spirit is - and so many blessings come from slowing down enough to do that. Love you!

  4. So grateful for your restraint, and for being just who your son needed. Praying that God uses this encounter to bless ALL of you.

  5. You are amazing. What else could we expect? I think that you got lucky in the principal, too...and in the mom. But, maybe not. Maybe once SOMEONE really listens - the love spreads.


  6. Aw geez, I actually teared up. Sheesh.

    You get a spot in the parenting hall of fame for this one!

  7. Ummm, tears! Love you girlfreind. Cathy

  8. Another reason why I admire you as much as I waited, calmed down and got the story from both ends. I'm sooo sorry to hear this happened at all but this was a nice ending to a bullying situation and that sure doesn't happen often. Proud of you and Scoobs :) xoxo

  9. Oh my goodness.

    This article needs to be out there. Everywhere. This is so important!

  10. Holy Cow. I don't even know what to say.
    THAT is a GOD moment.
    A miracle.

  11. What an amazing perspective... We are going through something eerily similar, but more girly. I hope that their working along side each other is the start of a journey where they are able to be friends...

  12. loved meeting you two moms and seeing how the world can change with just a little patience and compassion.

  13. I am 47 years old and developed type 1 diabetes at age 30 (unusual, but I had a blood glucose level of 858 and went into DKA). I experienced severe employment discrimination and since then, I hardly tell anyone about my diabetes. I have been running my own business tutoring special needs kids for the past few years, but it's hard to make a profit, so I will have to go back to teaching at the college level. My endocrinologist recommended I go on the pump; I have good control and no complications but it will help make it better. Because of how people act in America, I refuse to get one with tubing. I don't want anyone to know about it or see it, so I'm going with the OmniPod, the first tubeless insulin pump. Having diabetes is bad enough without being taunted over it, and it is also a very private matter.