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Go ahead, pick on the short kids. They can take it

Submitted by on Wednesday, 19 August 2009 No Comment

Gen.  Bus Stop called a cease fire long enough Friday morning to size up Big Guy.

The general – a second-grader who’s husky, but not quite chubby – clearly was in charge the battalion of stick-gun wielding soldiers but fate had just delivered a fresh victim, and a small one at that.

“You,” he said, firmly but not harshly as he took Big Guy by the shoulders. “Stand over here.”

Big Guy giggled and played along. He waited. And waited.  And waited. I waited to see how long he’d wait. Five minutes later, I figured he’d learned the lesson.

“Hon, just because a bigger kid tells you to do something doesn’t mean you have to. You don’t have to stand there,” I said.

Big Guy looked around for Gen. Bus Stop and, seeing that the commander had gone back to his troops, Big Guy scampered away.

According to an article published this week in the online version of the American Academy of Pediatrics “Journal,” incidents such as that are typical.

In a study of more than 700 children, shorter-than-average kids reported slightly more instances “peer victimization” than taller children did. If Gen. Bus Stop’s antics could be considered “victimization.” It was more low-grade harassment.

The up side, though: Researchers found little, if any, link between short stature and social, emotional or behavioral difficulties.

That’s great news for the guys, who really shouldn’t pin their hopes on reaching much more than average height.

I’m 5-4, which is average for women. Dad, however, claims he’s the gentleman’s 5-8 – you know, the shortest height it’s socially acceptable for a male to admit to. The Army disagrees, saying he’s two inches shorter. I’m sure the tape measure was having a bad day.

Big Guy finally reached average height and weight some time in the past year. Boots, according to the growth chart, still is below average in both categories.

I worried about that, particularly when Big Guy started kindergarten last year and there were only two kids in the class who were smaller. He’s cocky and outgoing enough, though, that it didn’t matter. It might have for the more-reserved Boots.

Turns out, I don’t have to worry.

According to the study, short kids were no more likely to be shunned by peers than taller kids. Researchers found no evidence that little people lack social support or are unpopular either.

With the possible exception of Napoleon, I suppose. Big Guy’s a bit bossy, but he’s no where near that dictatorial. Yet.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg.

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