Home > Awareness > NBC’s Parenthood Tackles Bullying

NBC’s Parenthood Tackles Bullying

Last night on NBC‘s Parenthood Max falls victim to bullies. Max thinks that they are all friends and impressed with his math skills, but that is unfortunately not the case. Adam and Kristina are unsure how to deal. When they drop Max off to school, they catch the bullies in the act. Kristina gets out of the car and gives the young boy a piece of her mind and reprimands him for his behavior.

Was Kristina right or wrong? How do you handle bullies? Have you or your child been bullied? If so, how do you respond? Do you have any strategies?

Bullying is an incredibly serious issue. In ‘The Experts Speak,’ Sheila Wagner M.Ed. says, “Bullies. The bane of the educational system. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes, all ages, races and religions.”

The Interactive Autism Network(IAN)  recently launched a national online survey on bullying and children with ASD to begin to address this troublesome issue in the lives of children on the autism spectrum.

Learn more about the bullying survey here.

  1. November 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I am hiring an attorney right now…trying to get one who knows Aspergers to sue Wells Fargo and an financial advisor for what all amounts to bullying, but it went all the way to extortion. I need all the help I can find. I want to leave a legacy of anti duping laws and I want the Dept of Justice under Title II to expand their Effective Communication. They Ordered Wells Fargo to it 4 times, and to no avail. It was all gameing me, and gotcha and it has been a horror. Just this week the Federal Reserve seems to have come in with a calvary charge. I am 64, a savant and I want to make new law to protect those who are growing up.

  2. Claudine S.
    November 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Having an 11-year old son with autism, I have encountered bullies several times, three times so far this year. I do remember that my son doesn’t always understand the interactions he’s having with kids, but I also know that he’s a target. The schools keep saying they have a ‘zero tolerance policy’ so I have taken that stance as well and have myself taken a ‘zero tolerance policy’. I know that he can be successful with the right support and when his learning environment is hostile, I take immediate action. I try to be involved in his school life so the kids around him know I’m watching and when he encounters issues, I address it immediately. As his favorite teacher and myself said, he’s a child who goes into battle every day, living in a world that doesn’t understand him, without the armor everyone else has. So I am his armor and fight the good fight for him. It was a promise I made to him and will keep it until the day I die.

  3. Sean Heffernan
    November 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    My daughter has teasing, bullying experiences at her school but would be horrified if I intervened in that way

  4. November 16, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Please, anyone who needs it, take advantage of these three free posters you can print up and use to help kids know what bullying is and what to do about it here: http://www.edudesigns.org/Stop_Bullying_inSchools.html

  5. Megan
    November 16, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I do not know what to do about the bullies. My son has Asperger’s and although our school has a ‘no tolerance’ policy because my son is large, 5’3″ and 220 lbs., and has always been taller than most of his school mates the teachers do little or nothing to protect him. He has even been accused of doing the bullying in the past, but now they have cameras in the halls so it is obvious that he is a target not an instigator. When I get a call where he is being accused I ask to see the tape and so far every time he was not the instigator. I am worried that he is learning that it is O.K. to bully because of the school’s lack of insight. He is already acting out in class because his “friends” laugh and he thinks that they think he is cool but they are really laughing at him. This stuff makes me crazy. The law should protect people but until the law is properly enforced this will still happen.

  6. Amber
    November 16, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    What happens when the bully is an autistic student as well? How many times does my son have to come home scratched and bruised before there are consequences for this behavior? Is it less of a bully issue when both children are autistic?

    • Sean Heffernan
      November 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      It makes it so much harder and more complex. I sympathise.

  7. martha kasbar
    November 16, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Parenthhod episode really hit home its so hard for me to drop son off at school. So afraid to watch what he’s doing. I don’t want to look. Usually makes me sad never engaging in conversation with anyone. So hard for a mother who always got in so much troble for talking and socializing in school

  8. Vicki C
    November 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    my daughter has been bullied throughout her life. She is a 23 yr old woman with Aspergers. As an adult she still deals with bullying and abuse. As a parent I find this hearbreaking. One school even told me they could not possibly do anything about all the bullying she was receiving because it was not the same kids she was the school target and even though she had made changes for the better, the other students would continue to harass her and it would be detremental to her leaning. What a crock. I find that all schools say they have a “zero Tolerance policy” but very few back up those words. Luckily my daughter found a wonderful charter school that helped her to succeed.

  9. Jodi
    November 16, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Neighborhood kids targeted my Aspie in a game of hide-and-seek where he hid and everyone else ran into the house where he wasn’t allowed to be. They would also taunt him by calling out to him then going into a backyard where he wasn’t allowed because there is no parental supervision. When I called the kid out on it he went crying to mommy and daddy who attempted to confront me. I’ve never backed down easily, but less so when it comes to my son. Needless to say, the kid doesn’t mess with my son anymore.
    We’ve also had to deal with issues in the school, including with his teacher last year who consistently dragged him to the office. I wish I had known then what I know now. For anyone in Ohio, if the district does not go by the IEP and you feel your child is being discriminated against, go to Ohio Legal Services and look into Section 504. We could have sued. Instead, I voted against a recent school levy and informed the district that the reason for doing so was that I did not approve of the manner in which they deal with kids like my son.
    As parents, we have a voice. The fact that I consistently stand up for my son shows him that I will always be there for him and he can come to me when he is frustrated or upset. It doesn’t always mean that I will side with him, as I make sure to point out what is right and what is wrong. BUT…it is a learning experience for him and provides the opportunity to show appropriate behaviors and holding others accountable.

  10. November 16, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I think Christina was very much in the right to confront the kids that she saw personally make in fun of her son. He was not aware that they were making fun of him. They were purposefully leaving him out of stuff just because he was different. My child has not been bullied and I truly hope that day never comes but, I would like to think that I too would walk right up to the child and let them know how terrible they are being. Go Christina!!!

  11. Melissa
    November 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I have a ten year old that’s autistic. He was bullied by kids and by teachers not understanding his needs and his autism. I strongly think that all teachers should be well educated on autism spectrum disorder so they can help out the poor children that only get noticed for what they do wrong. A autistic child needs encouragement and guidence, and they need help standing up for themselfs. This is the very reason why I choose to homeschooling my son. He ended up getting very depressed from his surroundings because no one cared enough at school to help him! He is a much happier child now but I want to make changes in the school system now for all the other children that are suffering from bullying!

  12. Misty Martin
    November 16, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    My oldest son is 11 and in 5th grade, we have experienced major bullying issues at his school to include physical bullying. The school did try to police the situation, but it wasn’t helping much. Four weeks ago he threatened to kill himself to his classmates. The next week we pulled all three of our children out of public school and I am
    Now homeschooling them. I wish we had made this decision a lot sooner, we are absolutely loving the time together and being able to learn together! His anxiety levels are visibly lower and the closeness between siblings has grown! :)

  13. November 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    How about a TV show that deals with the ‘real’ children, who are not gifted, and who have Asperger’s and how they should deal. REALLY a small percentage of these children are gifted. The schools (and TV) dote on them. How about the rest of us??? How should we deal with the bullying that occurs in REAL life for our kids that don’t understand social cues after 100’s of hours of ‘social therapy’. I’m sick of hearing about the ‘gifted aspergers kids’.
    Let’s GET REAL.

  14. Jessica Clark
    November 16, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    We moved an hour South. I worked at the school that he was bullied at. I kept going to administration, but it kept getting overlooked! My son was having suicidal ideations & I pulled him out. I left my job and he finished out the 2009/2010 school year at home with a tutor. We left behind our house and many other things. It was worth the move! Both of my boys have Autism & they are doing amazing now!! The schools have a NO TOLERANCE POLICY! My 13 year old has a smile and a tremendously wonderful personality again!

    • Sean Heffernan
      November 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm

      Well done Jessica. You’ve made some very tough decisions and it paid off.

  15. November 16, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Kristina was right! I’ve had to do the same. It doesn’t matter if your understands he/she is being bullied, it has to stop! A reminder to the bully that they need to stop and “be a friend” is OK in my book.

  16. Kristen W.
    November 16, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    I have definitely seen the “mama bear” in me come out when I sense that someone is bullying my kids. I am trying to figure out how to best handle this. I know my daughter has tried to step in and defend when others were teasing her brothers (both of whom have autism). I think the best defense is a good education on what autism is. I am waiting until next year, when my boys are in 1st grade, to present this information to their classmates. Actually their classmates seem to treat them well, it’s more the older kids who laugh at them.

  17. Ruth T.
    November 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I know exactly how Kristina felt as I’ve calmly approached girls who were obviously bullying my daughter but once the issue was over I taught my daughter how to deal with bullies and how to tell if someone is your friend or not. Using social stories, and graphic planners to visually see consequences of actions, etc. Were really great.

  18. November 18, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    I agree with what Kristina did. It was the right thing to do, as well as the most effective.
    Going to administration may or may not have helped.
    The bullie was being held responsible for his actions right after he did it – he was held accountable by a parent who was not going to let him get away with his actions. I think Kristina’s timing and angry assertiveness was excellent for impacting the bullie. Go Kristina!! And Go NBC for taking a stand on the cruelty of bullying!!

  19. November 19, 2011 at 2:04 am

    I agree with Kristina. I think those boys needed to know that someone was watching, that someone cared. Maybe they will think twice in the future, maybe they won’t. But it was worth a try. I do think that bullying where the AS kid doesn’t know he is being bullied is much better than bullying where he does! At least his self confidence didn’t suffer. That was actually pretty mild bullying compared to what I’ve seen and been through. When I was being bullied in junior high, I knew it! But didn’t tell anyone not even my parents – I think I didnt understand how wrong it was, I just thought I had to “get through it.” As this article shows, http://www.aspergerssociety.org/articles/52v.htm ,bullying is definitely an important issue to address.

  20. Pamela
    November 19, 2011 at 10:16 am

    My son who has high-functioning autism was bullied in both elementary school and middle school. I remember when he was in elementary school, two girls kept picking on him at the after school program that he attended. I took the appropriate steps and spoke to the day care providers at least 2 to 3 times. However, the teasing and bullying kept on. So one day when I picked my son up, I noticed he was crying. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me that the same two girls were bullying him again. I immediately went up to both of the girls and told them that they were not to ever bully my son again, and I was going to speak to their parents. The girls started crying. The next day the day care providers told me that I did not follow the proper process. I informed them that they did follow the proper process to put an end to the bullying. I also told them that my son had a right to attend the daycare facility without being bothered. By the way, the girls never picked on him again.

    Middle school proved to be more difficult. I was up in the principal’s office on a weekly basis. My son was sucker punched, he had water thrown on him, he was called names, etc. One of the worse parts was when I had a meeting with the teachers and the principal, and we discussed the incident when a girl threw water on my son. One of the special ed teachers said that she would have to understand the situation. I told her that there no circumstances in which it would be acceptable to throw a glass of water in someone’s face. She quickly became my least favorite teacher in the school. The school did take some action, but not enough in my opinion.

    I do agree with Kristen W.’s statement that education about autism is the best defense. My son’s bullying in middle school is what prompted me to volunteer with the Bay Area Autism Speaks organization. I recognized the need to educate teachers, students and the general public about autism.

  21. Ileana Morales
    November 21, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    to Ruth T:How did you teach your daughter to deal with the bullies.My son is 18 year old, high functioning…bullying it has not been a big issue with my son…I know they make fun of him,but he gets confused..he doesn’t really knows if they are making fun of him or not.then he comes home and try to play out the conversation so I can tell him if he was being bullied or not…I always tell him…to ask the teen:Are you making fun of me?Do you think is OK for a human to make fun of another human???(on his own words)…and he tells me that after he says that…that they ussually apologize to him…ANY OTHER ADVICE???

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