Why Kids Make Fun Of Other Kids

To my daughter:

My love, there is something else I'd like to discuss. And that is realizing how you fit in among your friends, your schoolmates, and, society in general.

When I was in school, I often dreamed of being totally fluent. I visioned myself addressing the school, as class president, or student council leader, or some other function, but always as a powerful speaker. When I was in a situation, and there were many, where I couldn't speak, I would replay the scene over and over again in my mind, except this time, I was totally fluent. My mind became consumed with these psuedo (imagined) victories; but these didn't comfort me at all. I was not happy with myself.

We begin to realize that "what is done is done." In our case, "what is said is said." It's ok to feel bad about a negative experience....you can't help it. But then, we realize that it's over. It's time to move on. When your mind begins to remember the hurt, the pain, the embarrassment of that situation, turn on your "positive" switch. Picture in your mind a wall switch. See your hand flip it up. Instantly, begin to think of happier times. Think of me, smiling at you. Think of us in Disney World, on the beach, backpacking in the Smokies, in our boat, or anything you can think of that was a great time! And then I want you to think of how smart you are, how Cheetah (pet) depends on you, how much your brother idolizes you, how much your friends like you, how much everyone likes you, and how much your dad loves you. Now matter how hard it may be, put a little smile on your face. Then, as soon as you see me, tell me about your day. We'll talk about it together!

Sometimes, we find ourselves thinking "I should say this..." or "I should do something..." or "I have to get one last word in..." As PWS, this can result in a frenzied attempt at conversation. We begin to talk rapidly, in one breathe. We can't relax. We have to get it all out, before we stutter. The result is that we actually talk too much sometimes, in trying to convey our message. My love, everyone, fluent or not, has these feelings. Everyone thinks to themselves the "I should have said this...." As an adult, you'll hear this more and more. Sometimes, just a couple well chosen words have more power than a long narration. If sometimes you chose to substitue a word for a difficult one, that's ok too. Concentrate on the message...what are they trying to say? What are you wanting to express to them? Look at the other person. They may be nervous talking to you. Put them at ease with a smile. Smile with your eyes. Feel yourself "connecting" to your listener. Be their friend. You know, sometimes it's best to be quiet and not say anything. Then there's other times, when it's best to say a lot. We have to make this decision for ourselves, and, often times, there's not much time to think about it. This happens to everyone. If you speak, that's fine; if you don't, that's up to you. But I know one thing. As bright and intelligent as you are, you have so much to share! Other people will benefit from what you have to say! You are very important to others, and, especially to me. You have already, and will continue to make a difference in people's lives. Whether or not some day you become fluent is not as important as how you are as a person. Others won't look down on you because you stutter; they'll just think what a great person you are! And how much they like to be around you! You make me so proud!


added June 21, 1998