Sunday, August 30, 2009


Recently a question was posted on a cleft site about how to handle teasing on the playground. I thought about replying but others did. I'm posting a few of my thoughts here. My first thoughts were to ask are these children strangers? class mates? family? children of friends? I mean how much effort do you want to put into resolving the situation? Talk just to your child, try to talk to the other children, parents or teachers? This is no one-sided issue.

But then I realized that maybe all the years of difficult "playground" situations I have encountered have just been preparation for what may come for Holly.

My other three children are not cleft effected. But every single one has encountered teasing to down right bullying on the playground, classroom, school pick-up line. There is nothing outstanding or unusual about any of my first three children. Just your average kids, if your looking for a reason to single some one out, I can't think of why my children have been picked on. No glasses, no buck teeth, not over weight or under weight, not slow learners or over achievers... (of course, I am proud of my children for many reasons) but as for a bully? Why? I don't know.

Holly on the other hand may very well encounter children who mention her lip, her nose or her speech. Maybe not. In case she does though, here's "All I needed to know about teasing I learned on the playground"
  1. Sometimes children don't know better. They are growing and learning how to behave just like my kids are still learning.
  2. Life seems to be more like D.W., Emily and the Tibble Twins than like Arthur, Buster, Francine and The Brain.
  3. The best thing to do if someone is teasing you is to walk away.
  4. When some one says something untrue and unkind about you, do not believe them.
  5. Even your really best friend will have a bad day, forgive them.
  6. Sometimes we will never know why children say or do the mean things they do, our job is to forgive them, pray for them...and stay out of their way. Especially if the teasing turns to bullying.
  7. Jesus is always your BFF. No matter what.
It is hard enough to know exactly what to say to your child in difficult situations. Especially when the parents or teachers involved don't DO anything to help.

My first prayer is that Holly will not have to live through the experiences of her brothers and sisters. However if she does, I know we will all be here to encourage her, to reassure her and love her.

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