Saturday, April 30, 2016

Food Allergy Bullying: Adults do it too

The wonderful Facebook group I follow on parents of teens with food allergies recently had a post about bullying. 

A mom was distraught because her child was bullied by a grown-up, sort of "bullying by omission"-- a teacher failed to take a stand during an assembly where a student was presenting a paper saying peanut allergies are made up, false, a way to get attention. The teacher, when confronted, apologized. 
   However, is that good enough? Every day our children are taught: stand up for your friends, speak out when you see bullying, say something to show your support. 
  Are adults-- role models like teachers and bosses and clergy-- doing less than what we are asking our kids to do?
   I have personally stepped back when I should have stepped forward. 
   My son's school, where he had been K-12, often dropped the ball on his food allergies:in high school,  not ordering what they promised, so he had nothing as others ate pizza; in second grade, serving his special meals, cold, direct from the cooler I'd sent; that sort of thing. And every time, I went in and talked to the teachers, to the nurse, to the head of school. And I knew I was being put off -- even as I organized gluten and nut free areas at the bake sale. And my son mentored younger kids with allergies in the school library. 
  And, I let myself be appeased by their apologies-- after the fact. I think, as my fierce FA friends show me how-- I think I allowed myself, and by extension my son, to be bullied by the school. 
  Let's not allow apologies after the fact, the teacher who doesn't step in, let's not allow this " bullying by omission" to happen so insidiously and consistently in our lives.   

Monday, April 18, 2016

Letting go with Food Allergies

Lately, I've been enjoying the luxury of not thinking about food. Making it, shopping for it, worrying about it. 
  I am finally "Letting go. " not that I worried when my son lived in another city-- I didn't. I trusted him to do right by himself. And shop, cook and eat properly. 
And he did. 
  But now that he's home again, I had fallen into the gulley of "oh, I'll do that." and had checked out restaurants and encouraged eating before he went out and bringing food to places where the food was uncertain. And all the while
He was saying, "Mom, I'll take care of it."
   Well, after a few stand offs, I realized I was I was being foolish and a helicopter mom: he could take care of it, especially if I stepped out of the way. 
  So, now, I mention where a dinner will be and let him do the rest. If we're at a ball game, I don't bring food -- unless he requests me to (chocolate is a favorite in these colder baseball months.)
  If we're off for the weekend, I don't stock the fridge for him-- you get the picture. 
  But it's tough, stepping away, letting him be independent. After so many years of planning and asking and checking and cooking. But, I am stepping away and I am enjoying the extra time and even more so: I am enjoying seeing my son live so successfully on his own, without my misplaced "assistance" holding him back.