The Ultimate Bully
The tragic events in Boston last week prompt me to think that terrorism is bullying on super-steroids. Simply put, a terrorist is the ultimate bully. It was extremely gratifying to see the various branches of law enforcement join together with the people of Boston to deal with the threat. The community was of one mind. Working together, the Boston Marathon bombing suspect was apprehended and any similar threat from these bullies was thwarted. A strong, unified, universal reaction = zero tolerance.
That’s the way it is. That’s the way it should be.
Late last year, a study from Jaffe Food Allergy Institute in New York confirmed that food-allergic children are often subjected to bullying. In this study, 32 percent of children and 25 percent of parents reported bullying specifically due to food allergy. These often involved contact threats with the actual allergen, like throwing food at the child.
Bullied children report more anxiety and a lower quality of life than non-bullied children, regardless of the severity of their allergy or sensitivity. When parents are aware of the bullying (about 50 percent of the time), children report less anxiety and better social and emotional functioning.
Parents and the overall community can work together to identify a bully, to report the behavior and stop it. This reduces the harmful impact on our food-allergic, food-sensitive kids and sets the stage for tolerance and respect for differences.
Let’s keep the kindness flowing and continue to build a strong sense of community. Let’s watch out for each other.