I was bullied most of my teen years. I was really shy, didn’t have a lot of friends, and to top it off had really bad skin. I was an easy target. Bullying can mean a variety of different things. It isn’t limited to physical abuse- verbal, emotional, and cyberbullying are also common. Cyber bullying wasn’t as bad for me back in the day, but over the years it’s gotten much worse. I’m 33 and finally have gained confidence, but I’m not going to lie, it took a while to get there. Kids can be mean, and looking back I wish I would have handled things differently. I wish I would have stood up for myself more and had the courage to speak up.
My best advice for kids being bullied is to speak up, tell someone so you don’t feel alone. I wish I would have done that rather than keeping it in and letting it eat me up for so long. If you are concerned that your child or someone you know is being bullied, ask them questions and keep asking until they give you honest answers. It’s not something they’ll admit to easily, as least I know I wouldn’t have.
On the contrary, if you think your child is the bully, deal with it head on. It’s not just kids being kids. The worst thing you can do is sweep it under the rug thinking, “they would never do that” or “they’re just having fun.” Kids are easily influenced, and sometimes act differently with each other than how they act in front of adults. Kids are quick to chime in on the bullying out of fear of being picked on themselves. I remember feeling embarrassed about being bullied. I now know there was nothing to be embarrassed about. Bullying really created long term troubles for me. I felt socially isolated, worthless at times, and avoided anything social. I started seeing a therapist who really turned things around for me. It really helped me deal with my issues, and now I am finally in a good place. If you’re dealing with bullying, know your true worth, and don’t be afraid to tell someone. You are special for a reason, and were born to stand out. - Joe, IL