Posted in Bullying, Holidays, parenting, Special Needs Kids, Winchester Sun Columns

Are You the Reason Your Child Was Bullied?

Yes, I see my glaring error.  No, I was not drunk when I wrote this.  Maybe, I can blame it on the holidays?  Once you get past it the column isn’t bad.  Enjoy.

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Posted in Bullying, Celebrities, In The News, Politics

What Are Meryl Streep Bullying Lessons

Mainstream and social media are abuzz about Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globes. And why should they not be after Streep declared an alliance between celebrities and the media, promising they will help each other?  Yet, do you not think that anyone, famous or no, who wants to create an intimate bond with the media seeks to disarm freedom of the press?  The very point of having a free press is that they are beholden to no one. However, Streep made clear that is not her desire. She seeks an international news outlet willing to promote the Hollywood agenda. The very thing that is least like the majority of Americans.

741c8d12-b998-4f79-8c0c-550406781435Streep essentially used her time at the podium to hold the American people hostage. Rather than do what she is paid millions of dollars to do, entertain us, she opted to shame us instead. With no regard to her fans who may have voted for Donald Trump, she attacked him. So, I ask you, standing before your multiple bosses, who control your monetary value, are you going to take the opportunity to insult some of them? No! That’s crazy. So, why did Meryl Streep do it? Was she within her celebrity rights to do so or was she being the very bully she claimed to be against? That’s the question we’ll answer here.

That is a typical bullying tactic. Get people where they expect one thing then give them another. Bullying takes many forms. Yet, the fundamental tactics remain the same. Do bullies ever attack alone or do they wait for an audience? Do they have the capability to look at their side objectively or just assume everyone who disagrees with them is wrong?

When someone goes to excessive lengths to make sure her lone opinion is perceived as all-consuming truth you must ask yourself why. What is the motive? What in this person’s history makes her a bullying expert? Does she have a reputation for working with bullying organizations? Has she used her lucrative career to shine a light on bullying? And if the answer to these questions is no, then you must ask is she being self-serving now?

Streep is close friends with Hillary Clinton. Clinton lost the election to Donald Trump. Streep calls our President-elect a bully. Not even after 9/11 did we see the media and celebrities commenting so viciously or proclaiming such devastation. The loss of thousands of lives apparently pales in significance to their candidate losing.

In a desperate attempt to recover, celebrities began touting themselves as victims. They call our future president and anyone who voted for him a bully. But how do we define a bully? Is it not an angry, quarrelsome person who habitually antagonizes another? Or is it someone who goes to excessive lengths to publicly mock the opinions of those who differ from them? Isn’t is someone who attacks another because they have the audacity to be different than them?

History shows us that a bully who finds herself on the losing end turns the tables and claims victim status in a desperate attempt for a positive outcome. Remember the movie Mean Girls? Rachel McAdams character is clearly the bully throughout the movie. But when she finds her popularity is lost and those she once controlled are now thinking for themselves, she turns the tables. The bully takes on the role of victim in order to get what she wants. It’s a common bullying ploy.

Proclaiming to be victimized is nothing new. What we have to do is sort true bullying from self-serving propaganda of those who can’t stand to lose. In this case, we’re looking at Meryl Streep because she took the side of a bullying advocate with no history to support it. Rather than speak out for those bullied she gave a standing ovation to child molester meryl-streepRoman Polaski. Has she ever volunteered time or money to any bullying cause? In all her words did she bother to mention the biggest bullying headline in recent history? No, she did not.

Mere days, before Streep forced her “bullying” stance upon unsuspecting Americans a mentally disabled man was kidnapped, tortured and bullied in Chicago. Why would any self-respecting bullying advocate ignore such a splendid time to draw attention to this? Is it because it happened in Chicago, the home of another friend, Barrack Obama?

There is no doubt that Meryl Streep is disappointed and heartbroken for her dear friend Hillary Clinton. Who could blame her? But an attempt to claim victim mentality, shame a nation of voters and pretend to advocate bullying as a ruse to turn America against an incoming president is wrong.

Streep employed all the tactics of a well-seasoned bully. She made sure her unsubstantiated remarks were put before her wildly supportive clique. She used her position to shame what she views as weaker people who voted for Trump. She claimed victim mentality from her mansion in Hollywood while ignoring the true bullying victim in Chicago. And all of this she did to present herself as a higher authority than the average voter, to benefit her friend, and to appear as the voice of reason so all would applaud her. Meryl Streep doesn’t care about bullying or the average American. She is simply a mean girl trying to turn the tables.


Posted in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Bullying, Holidays, parenting

What We Can Learn From a Red Nose Reindeer

With the Christmas season comes an object lesson in the form of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Immediately, we see Rudolph’s father trying to hide the glowing nose so his son better fits in. That is a lesson for parents. We should teach our kids to hold to social expectations as best they can but pretending a disability doesn’t exist benefits no one.

Rudolph’s rejection is swift and complete once his nose is revealed. Yet, in the middle of the mocking comes a doe who doesn’t care about the bright red light. Clarice even tells Rudolph that his glowing nose is better than the false one he was wearing. We all pray for our kids to find a friend like that. As I have seen in the lives of my boys there are kids in the world who will accept them even as others reject and ridicule them. Yet, sometimes it’s the adults that are thoughtless. Clarice’s father insists she not play with Rudolph because of his nose.

rudolph-hermieWhile Rudolph is dealing with his rejection we meet an elf named Hermie. Hermie has concluded that he prefers dentistry over toy making. This, of course, is unheard of and his boss doesn’t take the news well. Rather than give up on his dream, as instructed, Hermie determines to run away. Doesn’t take long for him to hook up with Rudolph and the two, label themselves as misfits and strike out on their own.

Rudolph and Hermie are certain there is no one like them. They are misfits, outcasts, and rejects. They are quite surprised to discover an entire island of toys, with varying “disabilities”, who feel the exact same way they do. Like Rudolph and Hermie, the toys are convinced no one wants them. As we know Rudolph ends up the hero by saving Christmas with the very nose he was mocked for.

Our special needs kid may or may not ever have the opportunity to show the benefits of all_misfit_toys_welcome_heretheir disability to the world. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t teach them about them. We need to find our child’s strength and play to that by purposely creating situations in which the child uses the strength. This is a two-fold concept. First, it teaches the child that they have something valuable to contribute. Second, as they use their strength their self-esteem grows. A child with a healthy self-esteem is less likely to succumb to the psychological  warfare of bullies.

We cannot change how other people behave toward our child but we can teach our child ways to deflect the hurtful things others do. It is how our child responds to the bully that is crucial. Hermie was so certain in his dental calling that he didn’t back down despite all the mocking. That’s what we want, kids that can remain self-assured in the face of cruelty. So, as you watch Rudolph this year, take a moment to review the points of the story and help your child uncover his unique contribution to the world. Who knows, he may even save Christmas one day.