Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How to handle a bully

FROM CBS: (CBS) Jaylen Arnold knows how it feels to be different. He's had Tourette's Syndrome for most of his nine years. As CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella reports, it makes his body twitch even though his brain is telling it to be still. Most times Jaylen can handle it. Last February Jaylen's twitches got worse, much worse.

It started when the kids at a new school began to bully him. "What did they say," Cobiella asked Jaylen. "You're a weird kid," he said. "You should just go back to where you came from." "How did that make you feel?" "Really sad, like real sad."

"I made a Web site called
Jaylen's It's about stopping bullying and so far it's working," he said. Jaylen's father, Harold Arnold said, "The emails started coming in by the hundreds, and probably thousands and I said 'this thing is taking off.'" In fact, so many people were inspired by Jaylen's story, that schools across the country wanted him to talk to their students and teachers too. Jaylen's advice for bullies? "Sit down and stop bullying," he said. And before long, he caught the eye of Hollywood and actor Dash Mihok.

"I saw this kid with Tourette's and this beautiful, sweet, loving soul who was being absolutely incredibly brave and it really touched me," Mihok said.
He was so touched that he flew out to meet Jaylen and lent his own star power to Jaylen's cause. Dash knows how hard life can be for Jaylen - because he's been through it. Dash grew up with Tourette's too. "To have someone inspire you to be who you are and be unapologetic about it," Mihok said. "It's beautiful."

In the seven months since Jaylen launched his Web site he's given out more than 4,000 wristbands that say "bullying no way," to students and even a few stars - including Leonardo DiCaprio.
Jaylen said his big dream is to "stop bullying forever." "He has Tourette's to help other people," his mom Robin said His dad Arnold is, "super proud. He's the best kid." Jaylen can't change the way his body acts, but he's ok with that. He said he doesn't get picked on anymore, because "all my friends defended me."

I love this story because dealing with bullies is really tough. I find it hard to determine whether someone is bullying my kindergartner or he is just sensitive. And it seems like everyone has different advice. At this point, I tell him to tell the other kid he doesn't like it when he acts that way and he doesn't want to play with him anymore. Other parents I talked to say to tell my kid to hit him back. That sounds awful, but when your kid gets picked on, you may feel a little different about what should be done. How do you handle bullying?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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