This post is sponsored by Mirum, but opinions expressed are my own.
My nephew is one of the most inspirational kids I know. Well, actually, the most inspirational young man I know (he’s 16). I only met Brandon 4 years ago when I reconnected with my birth family after 34 years. The day I met him I knew he was special. Unique in his own way, the fact that he is special needs does not define him. Brandon’s enthusiasm for life, his smile that lights up the moment you walk in and his determination to be the best Michael Jackson inspired dancer you have ever met are the things that stand out most about him.
But the thing that impresses me the most is that he could easily be a target for small minded people who want to bully him. However, he is not a victim. And he will tell you that! In fact, what my special needs nephew has taught me about bullying is inspirational in itself.
On a side note, before I tell you what he has taught me, he is very interested in fashion and looking good. My brother tells me that his favorite products are AXE. They make him feel good and inspire confidence because they style his hair the way he wants it done and it stays all day long, even if it’s underneath his hat.
Have you seen the latest products on shelves at Target? AXE Natural Look Understated Cream creates those natural, relaxed styles without looking like you tried too hard. It lightly holds for an effortless look. There is also hair cream, also known as styling cream, AXE Natural Look Softening Cream, which gives Brandon that casual style he likes, AXE Messy Look Matte Wax and AXE 3-in-1 Total Fresh, a shampoo + conditioner + body wash. All teen boys need that!
I LOVE this as right now, and I mention this because, at Target stores, AXE is partnering with Ditch the Label, an anti-bullying campaign that helps build confidence in young men! My nephew could be a poster child as his advice for handling bullies is spot on with personal confidence.
Donate to a great cause by purchasing what you do anyway! For each purchase of an AXE Styling product this summer at Target, AXE will donate $0.50 to Ditch The Label, with a guaranteed min donation of $50k and a max donation of $125k. Visit https://us.ditchthelabel.org/ to learn more about the mission to fight bullying.**
Surround Yourself with Trusted Friends
Brandon has an amazing group of friends that he leans on. An avid dancer, as already mentioned, with his own YouTube channel, MSL 2.0 (My Special Life), he loves to show off his moves to anyone who will watch. A story that stands out in my mind is a lunch period he had where other boys were teasing him saying he couldn’t dance. Well, we all know he can but before he could prove the boys wrong by busting a move, his friends jumped in and backed him up. He knows that surrounding himself with trusted friends can help combat any bullies that may cross his path.
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He Honestly Tells Them ‘That’s Not Nice!’
It is OK to tell kids to be honest with other kids. Brandon has been confronted face to face with criticism for everything from the way he talks to his constant and contagious enthusiasm for life. He simply tells them, ‘That’s not nice!‘ and walks away. He does not let it affect him. He does not let it get him down. His parents have taught him that bullying is rarely about the ‘victim’ and more about the person’s own insecurity. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just learn to say, ‘That’s not nice‘ and walk away!
Share your experience with helping your boys build confidence online with the hashtag #AXEpressYourself.
Believe in the Love Your Parents Show You
I think that a lot of teens start to feel a separation from their parents as they deal with puberty, the pressures of school and the stress of being attractive to the kids they like. I know I am already starting to deal with that myself. I think, as parents, we have to let them separate a little but with the constant reminders of how much we love them and are here for them. Even when they want to be alone 10 hours a day or play video games all day, it helps a kid’s confidence to know they have a loving and trusted home base. So when bullies approach, they can let it slide off their back because they are confident in the love at home.
My nephew is pretty amazing and I adore him. He has overcome his challenges and turned into an amazing young man that anyone would be proud to call a friend. What he has taught me about bullying helps me in my own parenting. But what he has taught me about life helps me be grateful every single day that I know him.