My son, Stephen, is described by his school mates as “safe” so I guess that’s good. However people who are not his mates don’t use kind or good words and are described by Stephen as “the bullies”.
Stephen encounters these bullies on a regular basis, quite often on the bus travelling to school. He will often say that they make his life hell, and on a couple of occasions he has said that he wants to die. As a mum, these words break my heart. I want to protect my son and quite honestly would like to deal with these dreadful bullies myself as I want Stephen to understand the real meaning of “safe”.
As his mum I would like to feel that I am that one significant person in Stephen’s life, his advocate, a person who listens to him and has put support in place for him. The first and most important task for me is to build on all the positive attributes my son has. He exudes kindness and he has a deep concern for others which is manifested in many ways – ways which I believe are above and beyond his years. I continually remind him that he is loved.
I hope that I have taught Stephen that we have to deal with these bullies properly. He said, “Let’s get a gangster to knock ‘em out.” Even though I wanted to laugh at this statement – and, truthfully, have felt this way myself – I told him that this was not the right way. (It would also get me into trouble with the law and would mean losing my nursing pin before I even get it!) So together we went to the police and now we regularly have visits from them to check how he is doing.
He is now able to ignore the nasty or abusive comments and not retaliate to them.
Stephen attends a local youth group which he loves and feels – that famous word – safe. He is now able to ignore the nasty or abusive comments and not retaliate to them. Instead he talks to me or his youth leader, something we have greatly encouraged. Stephen loves football and because of the input from social services attends a local football academy for those with a learning disability.
Although I have written this from a mum’s perspective, I am passionate about all I do as a student learning disability nurse, and hope also that I feature positively in the life of any person I work alongside.