Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Peer Paranoia

The other day we went to the splash pad, usually there are mostly little ones, that day it was just four boys.  They were older than Austin, not by much, a year or so. He was taller than them and he is mistaken for an older boy a lot since he is quite tall for just turning 10, over 5 feet!

While we were there, I watched as Austin ran around these boys and tried to keep him in my sights. Trust is not big with me, I have seen the teasing and tormenting that Austin has endured in the past on a playground.  I watched as the leader of the boys (there is always one, right?) walked over to Austin and looked him up and down and all around. Like Austin was on display or something.  I felt like telling the boy, "My son is not a museum piece!" but as long as he did not linger or make a comment to Austin, I decided I would wait and see.  Austin did not notice the boy looking at him, trying to figure out why Austin was reacting the way he was, so excited and oblivious to his presence.  The boy had a look and off he went back to his gang of buddies.  Austin went on to play, for a while anyway.

Austin, playing by himself, and with Kaleigh periodically, became very interested in what the group of boys were doing.  He stood on the side of the park staring at them and smiling.  You could tell he would like nothing more than to join in and play but shyness gets the best of him and he will not approach them.  They did not even take notice of him standing there watching them.  Austin bored quickly and took off playing again, the boys never approached him to play.

I watched the boys as they ran past, up and down the splash pad and they were pretty good actually.  They never said anything to Austin and weren't confrontational.  I was a little nervous when it came to the leader though, but he kept his distance.  You could see in his face when he looked at Austin initially, he knew something wasn't quite typical about him and headed off back to his friends.  I watch other kids like a hawk!  I don't trust Austin's peers at all!  Paranoid? Probably, but I have good reason to be!  Poor Austin, he has been bullied so much and now he is bigger, it is even scarier!   Austin is starting Grade 5 and I feel it is time he took some kind of defensive training.  My husband and I have decided to put him in Judo.  I pray that it will give him more confidence and training for self protection.

It is so hard to for me to trust others when I have seen what has happened in the past.  Looking suspiciously at anyone who comes to have a closer look at Austin is like a defence mechanism.  I am cautious and careful when it involves Austin, that has not changed.  It breaks my heart to know that he endures such bullying and comments.  I have been known to give a few looks here and there when I hear anyone say something nasty about or to him!  One day, my friend reacted before I even knew what was happening.  Oh my!  She put the bullies in their place, immediately!  The hurt and upset stays with you and when I was watching "I am Jazz" the other night, I felt the same feeling come over me.  Jazz was sitting with her Mom outside at a cafe and some boys walked past and called her a name!  Her Mom asked Jazz what was said and Jazz confirmed the comment.  She told her Mom it was okay and not to worry but you could see the hurt and anguish in her face.  My heart broke for both of them!  I think this girl and her family are all very strong and exceptional people!  Good for her Mom for staying seated, I would have probably run after the guy and had a few choice words for him myself!

Wishing you all the best! *HUGS*

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