It’s a known fact that two of my boys live daily with Asperger’s and up until this point I have been very fortunate that we really haven’t had any serious issues involving violence – until yesterday.  Yes it was my turn to be mommy of the bully.
Zachary has been wanting to learn / play tennis for over a year.  This is probably due to his obsession with Mario and Mario tennis video games.  Anyway last year he was still really unable to handle social situations appropriately without a one on one worker so I decided to wait.  He will soon be 7 and so the time had come.  I registered him, got him a spanking new tennis racquet with a case and off he went!
The first class went okay although when it came time for group games he began to sulk a bit and had a hard time understanding the rules and social cues.  He tends to think that people are always looking at him or laughing / making fun of him.  I don’t know why this is but this is just another part of the autism puzzle that we as parents try to understand but never really do.  
So first class wasn’t too bad and I was excited for him.  He had fun and even talked to a few of the other students.
Last night however……………. ALL HELL BROKE LOSE!
It started out fine, and I was so proud of him! He was talking to some boys and just really acting like a typical boy and having a great time – until the last ten minutes of the class when they did a relay type race game.  Poor Zachary got so confused.  He understood that the person in front of him had to run to the end of the net, grab a tennis ball run back to the next person, high five them and then that next person goes – only his body didn’t get it.  Before the person could run back to high five him he was already racing down the net.  The coach tried to explain again, and some of the kids thought he was being funny on purpose.  And really why wouldn’t they?  I kind of thought it was funny and sort of cute how he was so enthusiastic about running to get the ball.  When it happened for the third time the coach told Zachary he wasn’t allowed to do that so Zachary’s response was to turn himself into a mini John Mcenroe  – he threw down his racquet turned to the coach and screamed (REALLY LOUD).
“Stop laughing at me you idiot! I don’t understand what the hell I am supposed to do!”
I wish it ended there but it didn’t.
He then saw some poor little innocent girl laughing at him (she really was laughing at him, but again most of the kiddies who are all ages 6-9 probably thought this little boy was hilarious or just crazy….)
So he ran to the girl screaming again “Stop laughing!” and shoved her really hard.  So hard that she fell to the ground and started crying.  Holy crap!
I ran over and grabbed Zachary.  I told him firmly that what he did was unacceptable and that he should NEVER hurt a girl! I then told him to apologize.  He refused.
I walked him over to the girl (who by this time her very understanding mother was with her) and told him again what he did was wrong and he needed to apologize NOW.
Well he apologized all right – with this:
His tongue sticking out and screaming “LA! LA! SOOOOOORY – You cry baby!”
Never have I been so embarrassed.  (okay, maybe I have been a few times) but shit he was on a rampage.
I apologized to the mother (again) and asked if the little girl was okay.  Thankfully she was. I firmly told Zachary that unless he apologized nicely we would have to stay there until he did.  Zachary is afraid of the dark so he knew there wasn’t much time before darkness would take over.  That did it.  He finally apologized – not as nicely as I would have liked but at least he did.  Autistic or not I do not allow my children to use it as an excuse to do things like this that are unacceptable and mean to others.  
Bullying and this type of behaviour I cannot and will not tolerate.  This was new for me and I was so upset.
Having eight children is hard enough, but having two with special needs on top of it all, is sometimes just so exhausting.  
Looking at this cute little boy it is hard to visualize him hurting anyone……. don’t be fooled…..
What about you?  Have you ever been on the other end where your child was the bully? Do you have a child with special needs who lashes out?
Until next time,
Chantel, momof8crazymonkeys
  • Chantel

    Thanks so much – after thinking about it you are right the term Bullying is overused. Zachary really isn’t a bully he was just really overloaded and frustrated. Thanks again:)

  • scorkum

    This is definitely NOT bullying. The term bullying is overused for many to cover any instance of name calling, pushing, etc. The main definition of bullying should have the word “intent” and “repeat” in it. The child intended to hurt someone and does it frequently.
    You could argue the girl was being a bully because she was laughing at him and hurt his feelings. (she isn’t as that was not her intent)
    It comes down to intent and frequency. Did he intend to hurt her? Has he done it repeatedly? Does he single her out and is frequently mean to her? No. He is NOT a bully.

  • Erin Little

    Chantel, That must have been so hard! Hugs. You know, I wouldn’t call that bullying at all, that’s losing ones temper and not handling it well. Bullying is persistent picking on someone – it’s different. He’s not a bully, he’s a boy who has trouble handling his emotions sometimes.

  • Julie

    it’s good to know that the other mother was understanding of the situation and i’m really glad you owned this. i’ve seen too many times when a child is not held accountable for their actions and the parent truly doesn’t seem to notice or care. my girls “apologize” to one another and it drives me nuts that “i’m sorry” is only a word they say and not a gesture of true good will.
    maybe it will happen again but i’m glad to know that it’s you on the “bad end” and you will do what you can to make things right. i’m sorry it was so intense.

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