We had a perfectly lovely weekend, I hope you did as well. I want to recap it, and I will, but right now I have something swirling around in my head that just won't go away...something we're struggling with and I'm sure others will as well, at one time or another.
You cannot not know that the incidence of all kinds of syndromes and disorders is growing, some say exponentially. It will, of course, impact everyone in some way and definitely that impact will be positive at times. Unfortunately, that impact will also be negative and that is what I'm struggling with right now.
I was able to join Julianna in a group activity this weekend that involved staying overnight at our local zoo. I was able to sit back and watch interactions of the group and I learned a tremendous amount. There is a child that is part of the group that I'm guessing has some kind of a "problem". I put it in quotes because I'm sure that it's an identifiable issue, I just have no idea what it is and I don't need to know. Not my concern. The thing is, the way it impacts my daughter, is my concern. This little girl is very difficult to be around. She perpetually is disgruntled. Everything is unfair. Everything is negative. Everyone is out to get her. She lashes out, physically and verbally, in a very loud, combative fashion. Julianna had complained to me and told me about situations in school, but I had always shrugged them off (*cringe*), assuming it was being exaggerated, or that it wasn't so one sided, or whatever. This weekend definitely showed me that was not the case. There were times it was pretty unpleasant. At school this child tends to lash out physically and that did not happen this weekend, but the angry yelling and complaining were not pleasant either. One of the adults shared that meetings are difficult because they feel like 90% of their time/attention is spent trying to deal with/diffuse this one child. They feel sad because they want to include this child, yet the reality of doing that is daunting.
I must say I came away from the weekend feeling a little ashamed of myself. I should have listened more, I should have trusted what Julianna was telling me all along. I should have listened. I should have acted. Fortunately, it wasn't entirely too late. I did decide that my child, who for some reason gets a lot of the brunt of it as this other child has decided my child is her friend, though friend has a different meaning to her; needs a break. I wrote her teacher a long email explaining the situation. Thankfully, her teacher was already on top of it, already aware, it has been handled for next year and I am very relieved for my child, but it leaves me feeling sad too. I wish there was a magic way to tell my child to act that would "fix it". That would protect her from the anger and emotion of this child without completely withdrawing from her. Sadly, I don't have a clue. After months and months of Julianna dealing with it though I'm ready to cry uncle. Enough is enough. I must admit I feel very relieved. Not only that Julianna will get relief but also that Julianna won't be in the classroom that this other child is in, she takes up a tremendous amount of time and energy that the teacher cannot devote to the other children.
A different, though similar situation is brewing in Jacob's life as well. He too belongs to a group that includes a child "with issues". (Quotes are because again, no idea what those are.) These issues though are coming close to ruining the experience for Jacob. This boy gets in his space, shoots him angry looks and tells him things like "you're on my revenge list". Jacob is clueless how to handle it and frankly, so are Mark and I. His mom attends the meetings as well, though she doesn't seem to notice/or interfere. That makes it even more awkward. There are older kids there who have jumped in and intervened sometimes, but again, it's difficult. So hard! It's impossible for Jacob to avoid this child, they're broken up into patrols and they're in the same patrol. Jacob enjoys the other kids in the patrol so he doesn't want to switch. It's really putting a damper on his enjoyment of meetings though and that makes me sad.
Intellectually, I know it's nice for kids with differences and difficulties to be included. I know that my kids are going to need to grow up and be able to deal with all kinds of people. I get that. But where's the line? It seems like we've gotten to the place where "special" has become a license for bad behavior without any discernible consequences. I have no idea how to help my kids deal with kids that threaten them...subtly. Not so subtly as well, when the little girl in Julianna's class gets too angry she'll haul off and hit or kick a child. There doesn't seem to be a lot of consequence to it because she has "issues".
I have no idea what the answers are. I'm just really, really frustrated right now and wanted to put this out there.
Experience? How do you protect your child? How do you teach your child to deal with these situations? I'm lost.