A natural parental instinct is to protect your child. Especially when it comes to the issue of bullying. Nobody ever wants to see their child in physical or emotional pain. It is one of the worst feelings for a parent to experience. So, what is a parent to do if their child is getting severely bullied at school?
First, talk to your child. Find out what is going on. Kids are naturally secretive and may not be forthcoming with their situation. You might have to pry a little to get them to fess up. Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for victims of bullying to hide their pain. They might feel ashamed, helpless, depressed, and frustrated. Be a caring parent, not a friend, when opening the lines of communication with your child on this issue. When your child is in pain, he or she needs unconditional love, security, strength, wisdom, guidance and a strong foundation that only you, their parent, can provide.
Second, visit the school and find out what they (teachers, principal, counselor, superintendent) might know about the situation. If they are not aware your child is being bullied, make them aware. This may or may not solve the problem. I know many parents who have taken this step and found the situation did not get resolved in a timely manner, was not taken seriously or not handled at all, leaving them frustrated with no other option than to homeschool.
A lot of parents are now opting to homeschool their children due to the school system’s repeated failure to stop the bullying of their child. Many parents see homeschooling as the best solution to the problem. Sometimes this action solves the problem. But many times there is one key area that gets overlooked. The emotional damage already done to the child by the bully before their homeschooling lessons even begin.
Removing your child from a bullying situation does not mean the pain the bully caused disappears. This very important issue should be addressed in order to avoid it festering within your child and leading to damaging self-esteem issues, amongst other problems down the road.
As a parent, you have every right to monitor your child’s computer and phone activity in order to protect them, while at the same time respecting their privacy. Protection and privacy have a fine line that sometimes needs to be crossed for the right reason, like bullying.
The bottom-line, homeschooling can be a good thing to help resolve bullying problems, especially if the school fails to do so. But, at the same time, it can also raise other problems because of social-isolation, an inability to develop coping mechanisms to handle bullying issues and not dealing with the emotional fall-out which still exists even though the child was removed from the immediate bullying situation.
Being a parent in today’s society is no easy task . Neither is being a kid. Talk to your children and keep in touch with what is happening in their lives whether you choose home schooling as the solution to your child’s bullying issue or not. Hug them. Tell them often that you love them and that you are there for them no matter what. A child being bullied needs that support and assurance in order to help overcome the damage done to their self-esteem because of bullying. By being there for them, you can help turn your child’s negative feelings about themselves into positive feelings. Big Hugs!!!
When I think of High School, the John Hughes flick, “Pretty In Pink” often comes to mind. Particularly the creatively dressed character Andie, played by Molly Ringwald.
For those who have never seen the movie, Andie was a girl from the poor side of town who got bullied by the rich kids at her school, because she was different. But more than being different, Andie was a talented designer and a caring person who never judged anyone for anything. She accepted people as they were. Rich. Poor. Ugly. Pretty. It did not matter. She was real and couldn’t be bought or impressed by money. The rich bullies knew down inside that Andie was a better person than they would ever be and they hated her for it.
A classic line Andie quoted from the movie, when her Dad asked her why she was still going the prom despite having been dumped by her date. Her reply to him was; “I just want them to know that they didn’t break me.”
Thanks to social media outlets and interactions at school or events, it is darn near impossible to escape being bullied. Victims get their spirit broken again and again, often turning the hatred the bullies vent at them onto themselves in the form of self-hatred. This is not good and only leads to destroying everything that is wonderful about you. Don’t let that happen. It is a new school year and a perfect time to make changes. Like Columbus, your bullies are about to discover they can’t break you anymore. This new school year is going to be about not showing your bullies, but showing yourself that you are a survivor.
Listen, the idea of showing them, while grand in it’s approach, is not the solution to your problem. What if you were to try something new. “What might that be?”, you ask. How about you rise above the nonsense, the put-downs, the gossip and the endless distractions and stay focused on what is really important. Your life. Your future. Your goals. The most important goal of all; being the best you that you can possibly be. Not for anyone else, but for you. I know that might sound narcissistic, but it’s not. I’m not talking about developing a big ego or thinking you are better than anyone else. What I am saying is that for every tear down someone delivers to you, it’s a reason for you to give yourself two build-ups. This is how you avoid having your self-esteem destroyed.
For example: If someone is constantly picking on your weight and making you feel bad about yourself, what you need to do is tune out their negative image of you because that is only their opinion of you, not your opinion of yourself. And if that is how you feel about yourself, you need to change your thinking. Instead of agreeing with your bully or tearing yourself down, you need to reassure yourself that you are wonderfully and perfectly made.
Always keep in mind that the only way someone can break you, is if you give them the power to do so. People say and do horrible things to one another all the time. The important thing to remember is how you respond to what is said or done. Are you going to let it defeat you? Or, are you going to defeat it? Are you a defeater? Or, are you the defeated? The choice is yours. Be strong and rise above it!
“The Faceless Reflections of Bullying” shows how a person who has been bullied feels, sometimes to the point of wanting to end their life because of it. The book begins by showing the anger, the sadness, the depression and the never ending pain, before transitioning into feelings and thoughts of overcoming the horrible experience. Positive feelings, self-empowerment and self-confidence to live and defeat the bully are highly suggested as the solution to putting a stop to being bullied. No more continuing to feel defeated or feeling like giving up on life altogether. There is also some information about the “why me” of bullying, along with a few notes for bullies themselves. My hope is that by reading “The Faceless Reflections of Bullying”, those unfamiliar with how a person feels being bullied will come to better understand it. To the bullies, I hope that you will come to better understand the pain your words and actions cause to those whom you lash out at. I hope this book will help answer some questions for loved ones and friends who have lost someone to suicide because of bullying: the whys. And, I hope those who have been bullied will realize they are not alone with their hurt feelings and see a way to overcome the pain and live a happy, bully-free life. I hope you will realize how special and beautiful you are and that no bully is ever worth ruining or ending your life over. There is a whole world out there. You have a purposeful life to live and you are just getting started. Never let a bully win. Fight back. Live.
Available in Paperback and Kindle at Amazon.com
A SIMPLE ACT OF KINDNESS
Today I was in the grocery store doing typical pre-weekend shopping. I rounded the corner, pushing my semi-full creaking cart onto aisle seven, when I noticed an elderly man staring at a selection of sponges. A look of utter confusion was pasted upon his wrinkled face. He picked up one sponge, adjusted his eyeglasses, squinted while reading the label, only to put the sponge back and repeat the same process with another sponge. This went on for a few minutes, while I struggled to find the right laundry detergent displayed across from him. Too many choices.
The typical response to the elderly man’s predicament would be to ignore the man and go on with shopping. But I personally could not do it. I had to help. And so I did. I walked up to the elderly man and said, “Hi. Can I help you with the sponges?” He turned to me and with a slight tear perched in the corner of his left eye, said, “Oh yes, please. I’m so lost without my wife.”
Through a brief exchange, I learned the sweet elderly man was a recent widower and this was his first time grocery shopping without his wife. Apparently she did all of the shopping throughout their forty-seven years of marriage. He was completely disoriented and did not know which sponge to purchase in order to wash the dirty pots and pans piled up in the sink at home.
After a few quick questions and some additional polite conversation I was not only able to help this man find the perfect sponge for the job, but I was also able to help put a smile on his face by simply offering him a few minutes of my time. I wished him well and walked away with a smile on my face too. It felt wonderful to help someone.
The take away message from this short encounter is this….
When we are being bullied, we are often made to feel as if we don’t matter – that any contributions in life mean nothing. But that is simply untrue. You do matter. And so do your contributions – big or small. Sometimes taking the focus off of ourselves and our problems and giving a moment of our time to someone else can help lift us up after enduring periods of being torn down by a bully.
I’ve mentioned this before in my previous blog, but I felt it worth mentioning again. Words may hurt…but they can also save a life. Doing something as simple as saying “Hi” to someone passing by, giving a compliment on someone’s outfit or hair, volunteering with an organization really does make a difference. It matters to you and to the person whom you are giving your time too.
You never know…you may pass someone in the hallway at school one day who has been bullied so badly they want to harm themselves because no one wants to be their friend. Your simple smile and “Hi” could literally save their life – and you may never even know that it did – and that’s okay.
Just a little something to think about….
Never Let A Bully Win.
Hugs – XX
A Hilarious Halloween Treat for all to read 🙂