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Monday, October 5

You Were That Girl Too (or boy)

The response to my last post has been almost exclusively a variation of “me too.” It makes me wonder how many of the people I pass in the grocery store feel the hurt of past bullying. Is that guy in the car next to me at the stop light as self-conscious as I am? Maybe not. But maybe he is.

A few people have asked me what can be done?

The truth is I don’t have the answer to that question. I don’t know how to stop bullying. If there is a universal plan to end it {and I doubt that’s the case} I have no clue what it is. All I can offer is some advice that may help others find the solution to individual cases of bullying.

  • Ask your children if they are being bullied. Ask them if they are bullying others. Let them know bullying is unacceptable. They may not tell you the truth when you ask, but if you don’t talk to them they may not tell you anything at all.
  • If your child is being bullied do not feed them clichés. Sticks and stones break bones, but words can’t be healed by a few weeks in a cast. Sayings like that do nothing to make a victim feel better. In fact they can add to the victim’s shame by making them feel invalidated and as if something is wrong with them for feeling hurt in the first place.
  • If your child is being bullied do not tell them to just ignore it. Not only is that teaching them they shouldn’t speak up for themselves and be assertive, it doesn’t work. Often bullies will escalate the harassment in response to such tactics. Fighting back is not the answer, but neither is laying down and letting the bullies continue. We teach people how they can treat us through our actions. Ignoring bullying teaches the perpetrators that they may bully us.
  • If teachers, principles, etc. do not take the problem seriously keep going over their heads until you find somebody who will. You are your child’s advocate. They need someone in their corner.
  • Consider counselling.

This advice is formed based on experience. I’m not a child psychologist. But I was a victim. And I know what it feels like. For more information on bullying and prevention check out this Wikipedia article and this Bully Free Alberta campaign.


3 Stubborn Stains:

Misty Mays said...

Great post! I dealt with being bullied too. At some point I believe we all must stand up to the bully!It's not easy always but when enough is enough u have to do something. I teach my son to stand up for himself but avoid comfintations.I hope every can make that stand one day.

Annie said...

I like your ideas. If bullying IS really bad, counseling is a great idea.

I gave you an award on my blog - www.mamadweeb.com Congrats friend!

Sarah said...

Thank you for your insights! I was lucky enough in school to not garner much attention (positive or negative). I was that invisible kid, which worked for me (in hindsight). I really appreciate you sharing all this.

My husband was bullied for being the only black kid in his town, so now he has this 'bravado' in public, at work, etc. You would never know that he was a victim by his attitude now, but it is a front that he developed to protect himself. So, you do never know who is hurting inside.

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