Monday, June 5, 2017

Bullying and Craniofacial Disorders

By Marie Miguel

Marie Miguel is an avid internet researcher. She is fueled by her determination to answer the many questions she hasn't been able to find the answer to anywhere else. When she finds these answers she likes to spread the knowledge to others seeking help. She is always looking for outlets to share her information, therefore she occasionally has her content published on different websites and blogs, like Women for One, Finer Minds and Sisterhood Agenda. 

If you are an expectant parent or the parent of a child with a facial difference, you know how scary different procedures and surgeries can be for you and your child. You seek answers when you do not know what to do, and for many, it can be overwhelming.

Someone with a craniofacial disorder has face and/or head abnormalities. Several syndromes are within this umbrella of disorders, including the following:

   Facial cleft, or face cleft or palate;
   Types of dysplasia;
   Miller Syndrome;
   Pierre Robin Sequence;
   And more common, and rare forms, of craniofacial disorders.

While each craniofacial disorder has its own characteristics, one issue that could plaque individuals with these disorders is bullying. Whether you are being directly bullied, or a loved one with a craniofacial disorder is being bullied, it can have damaging effects that last your entire life. Here are some tips to teach your children (and adults) to not engage in bullying behaviors towards those with craniofacial disorders.

Have a conversation with your child.
If your child comes home and tells you about an instance of bullying, calmly ask him or her the details of the situation. Answer any questions and issues with kindness. If your child asks for specifics, try to return the favor with details. If your child mocks someone or engages in other negative behaviors, refrain from telling them to not do that behavior. Instead, explain why that behavior could hurt another child or adult. Engaging in two-way conversations instead of brushing issues under the rug is beneficial because you are able to help change the conversation.

Take action if someone else is bullying.
If your child tells you that he or she witnessed a bullying event, encourage your child to tell someone in charge, or other authority figure. If the event takes place at school, the person to talk to could be a teacher or principal. Tell your child to use the buddy system to prevent bullying of others from being bullied. Have a friend back them up when confronting the bully. Encourage your child to remain calm if they witness bullying. Overreacting or becoming combative will only make things worse.

Change their behaviors.
If your child is the bully, tell them that you will help them change their negative behaviors into more positive ones. If you have a younger child, he or she may not know that they are actually bullying another child. Let them know that is not acceptable behavior. Show and tell them what behaviors are acceptable.

If your child is older and displaying aggressive behavior (hitting, punching, name calling, gossiping or something else), you may want to seek therapy for your child from a licensed mental health professional. Bullying takes on many different characteristics, and a professional can help improve a child’s behavioral patterns and provide solutions.

Teach your children that everyone is unique and beautiful.
All of us are different in our own ways. Some differences are just more visible that others. Teaching your children respect and that uniqueness is what makes a person special will help children realize that they should treat others how they want to be treated.

If you need anti-bullying advice, seek out a licensed professional to talk with you about your situation. This advice can be found online. Good news: you do not have to leave your couch!  Talk with someone at your convenience — anywhere you are —at

Check out other useful resources below:


^ Accessed March 29, 2017.

^ Syndromes. Children’s Craniofacial Association. Accessed March 29, 2017.

^ Why Perspective Matters When Parenting a Child With a Craniofacial Disorder. Liz Anderson. Accessed March 29, 2017.

^ Five Ways to Bully-Proof Your Kid. KidsHealth. Accessed March 29, 2017.

^ What To Do If Your Child Is A Bully. Stomp Out Bullying. Accessed March 29, 2017.

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