Recently, I read a news story about a few boys who thought it would be funny to prank an autistic boy by dumping feces, pee, cigarette butts and other disgusting things on his head for the “Ice Bucket” challenge. I normally don’t get involved in things like this, but since this is my blog and I can say whatever I want. I’ve decided to address it because this is a HUGE fear of mine.
I’m not just worried that children might bully Kamp and Max. I’m terrified of kids (in general) who want to be cruel; children who think it’s funny to hurt or torture others who are defenseless. I’m afraid that my boys will one day mistake a cruel child’s act of torture as a sign of friendship.
In my studies of psychology, I can hypothesize two possible reasons kids behave this way. First, they are mentally unstable; meaning they may have a chemical imbalance, or have a disorder themselves that needs to be addressed so that they can overcome their own deficits. And second, they learn to be cruel at home. These are children who are free to do whatever they want while their parents make excuses for them – their “perfect” child. These are they who may come from homes riddled with problems. Perhaps they watch their parents treat others with disrespect. They hear their mom’s gossiping, and their fathers playing the role of, “tough alpha-male.”
Well, I for one have had enough. I’d like everyone to take a look at themselves and how they talk, or behave around their children. What are you teaching them? Do you gossip about others and then watch your son/daughter treat their friends unkindly? Do you talk tough, and then watch your child pushing others around? Remember, kids mimic what they see.
I know that some children have a harder time socializing than others. Learning to be a friend takes time and is a process, but there is a difference between learning how to be a friend and being cruel. Take a look at how your children treat others and then take a hard look at how YOU treat others. Kids pick up on more than you think they do.
Let’s take a stand as parents and start in our own homes. If you spend time teaching your children love and compassion, that’s who they will become.
My heart goes out to that autistic boy and his mother. Because I know she worries every day about her special boy, and her worst fears came true.
In the words of Ellen Degeneres let’s all just, “Be kind.”