Name Calling

Dear Ms. Meniscus:

My son and daughter have started calling me gymp. They are 13 and 12. I don’t limp, but I do have arthritis and often it will be apparent that I have limited range of motion. What can I do to stop this name calling? They are very smart and they won’t just stop doing it because I say so.

Not a gymp

Dear Not a Gymp,

“Kids say the darndest things,” or at least that is how the saying goes. Unfortunately this stops being “cute” once your children are 12 and 13. 

You have to teach them that it is not acceptable to make fun of people because of who they are or their limitations. What your kids really need, is a big dose of empathy. Get a lemon, and with them watching you, bite into the lemon. They will react by salivating and experiencing the tart sensation you are feeling, even though they are not actually biting into a lemon. Explain that this is empathy, and when they see you moving slowly or with limited range of motion, their response has to be to feel your pain, not to make fun of you. They need to ask you if you need help, not call you a gymp. You need to be this blunt with them. They are 12 and 13 and no matter how smart you think they are, you have to sometimes treat them like the dumbasses they are…

Children should be taught that there is room for joking, but not at the expense of others.

–M

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