October is National Bullying Prevention Month. I decided to do some research about bullying and food allergies, and I discovered some disheartening statistics about the fate of allergic children.
Did you know that 35% of kids with food allergies who are 5+ years old are bullied because of their food allergies? I had no idea. It's been reported that some kids threaten repeatedly to shove peanuts in allergic kids' mouths. Others have gone as far as smearing peanut butter in the victims' hair. How horrifying!
Kids are not the only culprits. What I found most surprising is that many of these bullies are the kids' teachers! I read accounts of teachers threatening to give allergic kids a peanut if they don't behave. Other teachers have singled allergic children out by announcing to the class that there will be no cake at birthday celebrations because of a particular child's allergies. Imagine the shame and embarrassment felt by those poor children.
As a parent of a child with a severe nut allergy, I am appalled and saddened. Kids with food allergies should not have to withstand such terrifying verbal and physical abuse. They have enough fear and anxiety knowing that they need to avoid certain foods that could potentially kill them. On top of that, they shouldn't have to face teachers and other children who fill them with fear and shame for having an allergy that is 100% out of their control.
So I asked myself what can be done to fix this extremely sad situation. The answer I came up with is that food allergy awareness needs to be implemented and emphasized at home and at school. We as parents and teachers can each do a small (but important) part by educating our children that allergies are not a choice and that children with allergies have feelings just like everyone else. Empathy and kindness starts in the home and continues in the classroom.
Bo & Ty Sweets was formed not only to keep allergic kids safe but also to make them feel included. Our missions is for allergic kids to feel #SAFENOTSINGLEDOUT. We're doing our small part to fend off bullying. Are you?
Bo & Ty Sweets, founded by food allergy moms, is your go-to resource for:
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