Question about bullying — The Bump
Adoption

Question about bullying

I really never thought about this until I was talking to my parents about thinking about fostering. My mom told me that my cousin who was adopted from China (as an infant, raised in a primarily Jewish neighborhood) has been horribly bullied for most of her life. She is 15 now and is saying she is transgendered. Of course she may be but this could also maybe stem from the bullying.

They also told me about their friend (also Jewish) who foster to adopted a little boy who is African American. They told me that he is horribly bullied because of it as well.

Is this something that worries you? Have you experienced it? Any good stories of kids being kind and not a$$holes to adopted kids who don't look just like their parents? I am so worried about this even though I know it's not something that should be concerning me right now. 

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Re: Question about bullying

  • Hi,

     I'm married to a transgender person, and the expectant parent who chose has also identified as transgender . I can pretty much assure you that identifying as transgendered probably doesn't stem from being bullied, but that the difference and otherness that a transgendered child/teen might feel would certainly attract bullies.

    So, I think you've got a couple of issues: 

     1. You have a transgender cousin. Hopefully, *he* is being supported in his gender exploration by *his* family and will be supported no matter what plays out. This is a complicated situation. There are lots of great guides and blogs out there for families and teens; hopefully, your family can find a way to them.

    2. There is bullying. Kids are horrid, and bullying is rampant and uncontrolled in totally unacceptable ways.--- If you've watched the movie Bully: http://www.thebullyproject.com/  you'll see the ways that adults in schools, etc are often complicit in the bulllying that goes on around them with little understanding of how they are exacerbating situations. The movie also features a queer teen girl who has been relentlessly bullied.    Kids bully kids over everything- it's disgusting--- I work at a community college and run interferance around this with our younger students, my partner is a 2nd grade teacher and deals with bullying everyday amongst the kids, my mom is a HS social worker and also deals with it. I've absolutely heard of kids being bullied for: looking different from parents, being adopted, living in group homes, wearing the wrong clothes, being homeless, speaking funny, etc etc name it, and they will be taunted about it--- and the line between just having kids being mean to each other and BULLYING is a pretty fine line--- the more that can be done to help children learn to respect difference- however difference manifests the more well adjusted all the kids involved are going to be.

    I'm totally worried about my child being bullied. We live in NYC. We live in a more conservative part of NYC. Kids gonna have queerbo parents etc. And when it happens, we will deal with it-by addressing it with other parents and the school in really concrete ways. I was bullied mercilessly as a child, and I'm pretty determined not to let it happen to my kid. I think all you can do is be watchful. Extra watchful. 

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  • IMO the fact that you're aware of this means you can educate yourself and prepare yourself and your child(ren) for the potential for bullying, in whatever form it takes.

    Honestly, in this day and age, families are made up in so many ways (gay/lesbian parents, inter/transracial families, step-parents, single parents, immigrants) you can't even really define with a traditional/typical/"normal" family looks like. There are clearly still regions of the US that are more homogeneous, and issues may pop up more in those regions. I think in the last decade or so society is learning that being color-blind isn't beneficial to anyone involved. Recognizing, accepting, and celebrating differences can help with people's perspective.

    Bottom line: bullying can happen, for a multitude of reasons, transracial adoption being just one of them. You'll have to be proactive in keeping communication open, recognizing potential bullying situations, and helping your children cope.

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  • image maryoosa:

    Hi,

     I'm married to a transgender person, and the expectant parent who chose has also identified as transgender . I can pretty much assure you that identifying as transgendered probably doesn't stem from being bullied, but that the difference and otherness that a transgendered child/teen might feel would certainly attract bullies.

    So, I think you've got a couple of issues: 

     1. You have a transgender cousin. Hopefully, *he* is being supported in his gender exploration by *his* family and will be supported no matter what plays out. This is a complicated situation. There are lots of great guides and blogs out there for families and teens; hopefully, your family can find a way to them.

    Thank you so much for your input! I have not seen this cousin in about 10 years. She is actually my mom's friend's daughter and since we moved from Canada I don't ever see or talk to them. My mom just told me about this over the weekend. If I was there I would go there and give him a hug and tell him that there are so many resources and that he just has a few more years until high school is over and then the world can be at this fingertips. I don't know if the parents are supportive but I know they are crazy strict. 

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  • Thank you both for your input. I have never met this imaginary child that can one day be mine but I already feel fiercely protective.
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