Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
My daughter’s 11 and going into middle school. I’m worried about her because she’s been severely bullied for having a speech problem. We asked her if she wanted to go to a speech therapist.
She said she definitely didn’t want to go. She said the kids would be worse to her because they also bully another special-needs girl.
The girls bullying my daughter stuffed food in her mouth, and down her clothes, and said, “Don’t talk anymore – ever.”
What is bullying, exactly? What should we do about it?
Mom of a Bullied Daughter
As her parents, you are the ones to assess if your daughter has needs to be met; it’s not your child’s responsibility. Her welfare is in your hands. Special-needs children are, unfortunately, bullied for being different, just like new students are often bullied for being different.
Our definition of a bully: A person or persons who dominates, manipulates, threatens, forces, intimidates, and/ or harms intentionally, a vulnerable person or persons, repeatedly, which creates an imbalance of power, physically, emotionally, mentally, sexually, financially, verbally, and/ or socially.
Stopbullying.gov reports that 44 percent of 11- and 12- year-old girls are bullied by name calling, 43 percent are bullied by being teased (“just kidding”), and 36 percent are bullied by rumors and lies. Following those numbers are: pushing or shoving, hitting, slapping, kicking, ostracizing, threatening, stealing belongings, sexual comments, and cyberbullying. (Se also: 51 Critical Cyberbullying Tips in 2020)
New studies show bully-induced suicide is on a steep rise in the 11- to 12- year-old range for girls because of bullying.
What to do – tips:
- Follow our Triangle of Triumph: Victim – Survivor – Leader
Victim – Grieve victimhood and choose not to stay one.
Survivor – Define yourself, before others do, with our 5Cs: Civility, Confidence, Courage, Creativity, and Communication with C.L.A.S.S. – Connect/ Listen/ Ask/ Summarize/ Suggest (an activity or idea).
Leader – By example of living the 5Cs
- Stand with tall posture, keep a neutral face, and have good eye contact.
- Don’t “engage” with the bully by responding, explaining, arguing, or practicing “revenge bullying.”
- One response only – Say,“Stop bullying me,” and walk away.
- Report, report, report bullying to a trusted adult – parents, teachers, principals, or as a last resort – to the police.
It’s a sad commentary on our current society when kids with disabilities are bullied. Kids who are bullied are also good candidates to becoming a “bully-victim.” Physical vulnerability, social skill challenges, or intolerant environments may increase the risk.
Education on bullying for all is a must.
We are sorry your daughter is experiencing the deep pain of both having a disability and bullying.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri