Bullying & friendship

I have decided to indulge in a challenge, this challenge is set by Meghan AKA Firebonnet’s and is called “Random Moments of Delight”.

The idea being about sharing a moment of delight in whatever form that comes to mind.

You can see Meghan’s latest post & other peoples entries here

The bright bit comes at the end of this story, this story being about my eldest son and I have been bursting at the seams to share this.

We start with my son

My son has suffered from tics for some years now, if you aren’t sure what tics are click here.

They tend to come and go in severity, however at Primary School they only really occurred when he was being bullied.  Apart from the bully just being the way he was inclined, I sense he was drawn to my son because he wears his heart and emotions on his sleeve, he is an easy target to get a reaction from. What with that and his tics it obviously just became too tempting for the class bully not to indulge himself in tormenting my son.

The thing is though, this particular Primary School was small and things like this nipped in the bud even if they didn’t necessarily stop it occurring it did however give my son the feeling that there was an easy to tap in to support system.  He also had his class friends, so there was this friendship backbone.

We move on

He has now started secondary school.  The tics started to get worse and worse to the point it was becoming impossible to hide them anymore.  Sometimes he could make a sound disappear in to something that would appear ‘normal’, or if it was something physical he could try to make sure no one saw.

Not now, as he is shouting.  At first he could bundle it up in the day and then let most of it out at home.

As a parent it is very distressing to see your child like this.  Imagine your child comes home and suddenly starts shouting a sound, you can see him struggling to stifle the noise, to the point sometimes he pushes his mouth on to a pillow.  He cries because he knows that he can’t hide it.  Now he is getting picked on at school because of it.  He told me he used to go to the farthest part of the playground to tic before coming back to join other children, but now it is happening in class.

Sometimes he seems to manage to keep it at bay at home, mainly because he doesn’t want to tell me what a bad day he has had,  then when he goes to bed I can hear him ticking.  His brother sleeps next door, it keeps him awake.  It is loud and has given us headaches and it is a natural reaction to jump when you hear a loud sound.  But there is no way so far found to stop it, it is only to manage it, and we as a family are trying to work on that.  Things are a working progress.

I can’t imagine what is going on his head, but I have had brief glimpses, his sense of feeling isolated.  He has asked me if he is ‘cursed’ once because of the tics, he’s also asked me if he has severe mental problems.  I re-assure him but I guess as a child these worries and not fully understanding such complexities come back to haunt him.  He hasn’t really gelled with many in his class group so he doesn’t have that backbone behind him.

Things look up a bit?

So he has sought friends outside of his class.  He tells me stories of how one hacks in to computers and shuts down the school system.  He is 11 too!  I try to keep my comments to myself, though I think it quite an achievement to do these things at such a tender age.  I know during playtime he spends time with this small group of friends and it has given me a little comfort, though I have never met them nor know who they are.

Or did it?

So, we had a terrible week.  His ticking got worse.  A boy had hit him over the head 3 times with a book in class.  This same boy systematically teases him and seems to find it a daily challenge to rile him in some way.  During this week, we had lots of tears and we both had lots of sleepless nights.

As a parent I felt helpless.  Its heart wrenching to watch your son in such distress and every single thing you try to do makes no difference and there seems no possible way to ease your child’s pain.  I spent many nights tossing and turning, many tears shed, you feel guilty, useless amongst many other emotions.

Then a joyful light of happiness came our way!

ray of sunshine?

ray of sunshine?

My son came home one day in the midst of this terrible week.

He said to me “mummy I found out some things about my friends today”

I said “oh yes what was that?”

He said “one of my friends has autism, the one who hacks the computers, that is why he is so brilliant on computers.  Some of my other friends have dyslexia and they have talked about what is it like to have this.”

My heart lifted at this point with some hope.

I said “did you talk to them about your tics?”

He said “yes mummy, now they understand”

I smiled and inside happiness spread throughout.

He then said “mummy, we did something today, me and my friends”

I said “what was that”

United

United

He said “we all put our hands together and we all said “we promise we won’t change, we like who we are, we are who we are”.

I had to stop myself crying for inside there was a sense of relief, that he had such wonderful friends, pride in children so young that can be so amazingly mature and happiness that there was at last some kind of support network for him.

I said “my son, make sure you look after your friends, for they are special as are you, you are all lucky to have found each other”.

I know our daily challenges and struggles aren’t over, but at least there are some rays of sunshine in such incredible children having such maturity and empathy for each other and positive self worth!

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This article also falls under one of the activities set by zerotohero, Day 22

DRAFT A POST FOR (ANOTHER) BLOGGING EVENT

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  14 comments for “Bullying & friendship

  1. January 28, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    This is indeed an amazing moment to share. It’s incredible that those young children have the ability to recognize their bond of “being different” and support each other to be who they are. I have tears in my eyes, you told the story beautifully. My 20 yr old son also has “tics” although his sounds are very subtle the physical tics can be strong in his shoulder and head. His was very mild through grade school and only became more pronounced in high school. Occasionally I’ve asked him what his friends think of it and he says they know that’s part of who he is, no big deal. He’s an actor and technician in the theatre. He’s always been able to act through a whole play without it happening, which is amazing to me. (afterwards it’ll be more pronounced for awhile though) Thank you so very much for joining Random Moments of Delight. I am thrilled to meet you, your story made my heart sing today.

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    • January 28, 2014 at 6:27 PM

      Thank you FireBonnet, it still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. Your sons situation sounds similar to mine indeed, his were much less at primary. I have recently got him piano lessons and his tics just go and he loves it. i did try to persuade him to do some drama to help his confidence but it was like a chicken and egg scenario he was too shy/embarrassed to go to the class in the first place. I was hoping he would meet new people, feel good about projecting himself and gain some confidence, I havn’t given up yet though will work on it again at some stage. It’s a pleasure joining your challenge, I just loved the idea, it’s positive which I certainly need, all of us I am sure need to. I did want to follow your blog but was having a very silly moment or two and simply couldn’t find the follow button? I appreciate your comments and insight to your life, thank you for sharing 🙂

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      • January 28, 2014 at 7:09 PM

        My blog is self hosted so there won’t be an obvious button to add it to your wordpress reader. When I get home (on phone now) I’ll send you instructions to add it to your feed. One thing great about being in drama is everyone is pretty kooky to begin with then doing a play together is an amazing bonding experience. Maybe he could volunteer to help backstage at a production first. That’s what my son did. Then he saw that he could do what the kids on stage could do and jumped in. But then I wouldn’t call him shy! Just leary about doing new things.

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        • January 28, 2014 at 7:13 PM

          That sounds great, his form tutor head is the drama teacher I might have a quiet word with him as I think if he encourages him he might give it a whirl 🙂

          Thanks re feed info when you get time 🙂 I think someone else I spoke to about your challenge wanted to follow so if I remember who it was I will let them know

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          • January 28, 2014 at 7:38 PM

            Here’s the instructions on how to read my blog on your WordPress reader. Go to your Reader and on the right it says Blogs I Follow… hit Edit.

            Then you can enter my blog url and you will get the RSS feed. You won’t be able to comment from your reader, because that only works on blogs that are hosted by WordPress, but you will be able to see the first part of the blog and you can click to read the rest on my site and be able to comment there etc.
            Of course you can also subscribe to it by email.
            It’s great that your son knows the drama teacher. It’s actually funny how many truly shy people end up in drama. It’s as if they are free when they play the part of someone else and not themselves.

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  2. February 2, 2014 at 2:09 AM

    I really enjoy your blog, and I think others will too. So, I have awarded you the Liebster Award, for a great blog with less than 200 followers that I think people are missing out on. See http://holdingtogetherthejello.com/2014/02/01/liebster-award/ for more information.

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    • February 2, 2014 at 5:47 PM

      Hello Mark,

      Woohoo what a thing to wake up to, the first thing I read this morning, so thank you so much, very excited. I had heard of this award, had no idea what it was really, but now I understand I hope, it’s aim in focusing in this instance on new bloggers, ie under 200 followers that other bloggers think worthy of recommendation, then spreading the love in the form of networking 🙂

      I am once again very humbled and chuffed. One, well I for sure, always self critique and wonder who likes, whether I am writing well or being interesting, so very nice to get this indeed, and I have thought up some wicked questions for the ones I shall nominate, trouble is finding people under 200, most I follow I’ve checked and they are waaay over, hehe.

      Hugs to you….and ps, did I send you my link to the other blog that I thought you might like to read, my brains silly at the moment and can’t remember! (blushes)

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      • February 2, 2014 at 7:34 PM

        You’re certainly welcome. And I had the same problem – trying to find blogs that had fewer than 200 followers. I actually looked up the award when I received it, and the rules seem to vary from time to time. Sometimes, it has gone to bloggers with less than 500. That would be a lot easier. But I received with the 200, and that’s what we’re working with, so . . .

        I found five by pure luck. Since I started blogging, I’ve started following a number of blogs. I just went through the ones I was following. Actually, I was really surprised when I saw you had less than 200. I think you have a really good blog, so I figured you must be fairly new to it.

        As far as how to know how many followers, again I got lucky. If you follow other blogs through wordpress, then go to your link in your dashboard called Blogs I Follow. When you go to it, it lists all the blogs you follow. If you click on one, it takes you to kind of a preview page (not the actual blog itself), and I noticed on that page it listed the number of followers. So that’s the number I went with.

        You seem very nice and un-stalker-like, so if you’d like to email me, feel free to at troutcomm@gmail.com. And, if you’d find it easier to actually talk, drop me an email, and I’ll send you my cell number. But I don’t really want to post it here.

        Also, I was going to tell you, there’s no hurry. I don’t know if there’s a time limit, but I took a little over a week to get mine all written and everything. So don’t feel like you’ve got to do it today.

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        • February 3, 2014 at 4:41 PM

          I am so glad there’s no hurry lol, I’ve answered the questions, made my own evil ones, sorry I mean ‘nice’ ones and just now trying to find other bloggers like me with low following, that seems to be like looking for a needle in a haystack. But thanks for the hint re how to find out about followers, works a treat and makes life much easier for me for the ones I am actually following, rather than staring at a screen wondering what I am missing.

          Thank you for the email, thats very kind of you and no I promise not to stalk you, not today anyway! x

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          • February 3, 2014 at 5:58 PM

            Ha. Well, I hope you’ll be too busy for stalking for the rest of the week as well. Lol

            If you have any other questions, just let me know.

            mark

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  3. February 2, 2014 at 5:44 PM

    Thank you firebonnet, I got to follow you via e-mail 🙂 and darn Mark beat me to it, I was going to give you the Liebster Award x

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  4. February 3, 2014 at 7:54 AM

    What a wonderful post, i have to admit i shed tears! my son has tourettes syndrome, aspergers, obsessive compulsive disorder and a host of other labels. he is 17 now and the tics are in the waning stage of the “wax n wane” cycle at the moment which is making preparing for his exams easier by far! he will still ahve to sit them in a room on his own. he hates how different he feels from his peers, he has faced bullying but those friends closest to him throught the years have such a great bond and understanding. he came to the conclusion that no ones opinion of him mattered other than his loved ones and his friends and since then he has become untouchable by bullies words.. water off a ducks back! i do hope these children become your sons close circle and he finds his waterproofness!

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    • February 3, 2014 at 4:46 PM

      Awe, it’s really hard isn’t it. I hate the fact they ‘feel’ different and sometimes get separated. It’s hopeful to hear the tourettes can sometimes wane. We are going through a whole host of things now with both my sons, had both assessed privately as got so fed up not getting anywhere with the NHS, now I have done this, the NHS seem to be moving forwards oddly enough!! It’s an emotional, confusing and overwhelming journey at times for both parent and child. We are going through this together and it’s like picking at threads trying to unravel a knot, not knowing the best thing to do, what to start with first etc. My youngest has been diagnosed with dyspraxia, severe dyslexia, audio processing and possibly ADHD/ADD, I’ve yet to get the results back for my eldest, but I certainly know he has tics in varying severity. It’s odd when you suddenly realise how life is through your child’s eyes when you learn about the different conditions or whatever is the politically correct terminology to use, it makes me sad to think how much he has struggled and I’ve simply just not understood. My pain blog is itisalonelyplace.wordpress.com I am going to link it to this blog promise lol x ps I am glad your sons Tourettes is waning and that he has a good friendship base that is a blessing x

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    • February 3, 2014 at 4:50 PM

      PS I finally got around to it, the blog in question you asked about is finally on my sidebar!! woo hoo

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