As the mom of 2 boys with Asperger’s we’ve had our fair share of dealing with bullying over the years.
First from the bully and then from my boys as they retaliated.
Most of the time, it wasn’t physical bullying but verbal or emotional bullying.
But how do you assist young children to understand the damage that words can do?
I used this example both at home and in the classroom ….
A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform.
She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up, but do not rip it.
Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was.
She then told them to tell the paper that they were sorry.
Now….even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it.
That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever.
The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home.
Most children do not understand the effects of their words, teasing or hurtful behaviour, by giving them a practical way to understand the effect of bullying most often a child will change their behaviour.