Monday, September 21, 2009


I am following a thread on my regular parenting website hangout. I will not post in it because I know certain parties would take great pleasure in deliberately misinterpreting my intentions, and twisting my words. The thread is titled: The Word "Retarded". Of course there are lots of people in their posting how derogatory and offensive it is. In any usage. I think in most cases that is true.

But for us it is a word, as is spastic, used in this household. To take the malicious intent away and minimise the emotional damage to our oldest child. Some would say: "He is bright, explain it to him and he'd understand!" or "You are perpetuating the misuse of these terms and continuing the cycle of abusive behaviour by repeating these insults." If he was your average child, I would agree. But he is not. If I was sure he would never encounter these terms in a detestable attack, I would not refer to them. But it has already happened. I do not use them frequently, and I do not use them lightly. I use them to help my child deal with what HAS and WILL be used to humiliate and belittle him. I use them to take away their power to hurt.

He is a not a child to whom the social graces and nuances will ever come easily. He is not a child who, knowing the dictionary definition, would react calmy or unemotionally. He is a child with a great sense of quirky humour who now holds the balance of power when someone calls him these names. Why? Because what we have done in the home by desensitising him allows him to laugh and walk away. Basically disarming the offender's attack and foiling the intent. And as offensive as our methods are to some, they have worked. Sorry, I am not taking the politically correct path this time. I am taking the one which helps him more.


jlydia said...

I haven't even opened that thread. I refuse to on the grounds that my blood pressure doesn't need any upward influences! If it works for you and DS, then go for it.

Madmother said...

I discussed this with DS1's psych a while ago after being attacked in another thread. When I explained how we handled it and the outcome he commended our actions. He also made the point that it was not our job to educate the masses, and trying to do so under the circumstances of bullying would be totally ineffective. His words: "If the school has been unable to rectify such behaviour how on earth would your attempts work?"

And he agreed - it took away the power from those wishing to hurt.