Put An End to Childhood Bullying | My Story | #stopbullying

What is bullying? (source About.com)

Bullying is intentional aggressive behavior. It can take the form of physical or verbal harassment and involves an imbalance of power (a group of children can gang up on a victim or someone who is physically bigger or more aggressive can intimidate someone else, for instance).

Bullying behavior can include teasing, insulting someone (particularly about their weight or height, race, sexuality, religion or other personal traits), shoving, hitting, excluding someone, or gossiping about someone.

Bullying can cause a victim to feel upset, afraid, ashamed, embarrassed, and anxious about going to school. It can involve children of any age, including younger elementary grade-schoolers and even kindergarteners. Bullying behavior is frequently repeated unless there is intervention.

Elementary school… early childhood. This is the time of your life you should look back fondly on. Not for me, though. From about third grade through sixth grade I was continually harassed by the “big kids”.

Stop-Bullying-Sign-K-7052I wasn’t the cutest kid in the world. Once the bullying began, I began to shove my feeling down with food. The change in my body gave the bullies even more ammunition to hurl at me. I was always afraid to get on the school bus. The big kids always sat in back and they would always shout things like “Here comes Heffer!” (my name is Heather)… or they would “Mooooooooo!” while I walked down the aisle of the bus. I just wanted to be invisible… to die.

This was incredibly hurtful but I had no idea how to make it stop. I would sit in my room after school and cry… sob actually. And then eat more. I don’t know why these bigger kids decided they needed someone to pick on so badly. I do know that it ate me up on the inside. It made me ashamed of who I was and how I looked, it tore my self confidence down to nearly nothing and it made me question who I was as a person… did I actually deserve to be around?

Obviously I did stick around, but I can understand how a young person might be inclined to take the other way out. The pain eats you up from the inside… you feel your guts churning, your heart pounding and the tears burn down your cheeks.

Fortunately I found a group of friends in junior high that were incredibly loving, supportive and accepting of who I was and what I looked like. The bullies were still around, but not as strong. I eventually blossomed and, although still a big girl, these people stopped picking on me as much. I gained a little self confidence and was even voted onto the drill team in high school (which btw I eventually dropped out of… due to bullying).

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The reason I am spilling my guts for the world to see, read… hopefully hear… is this. Bullying needs to S T O P. We as parents need to recognize the signs of both the bullied and the bullies. Teaching our children compassion for others is a start. Recognizing the signs of a child that is being bullied is another. If we all get involved, none of these children will take the other way out to get away from this torture.

Comments

  1. Joni Lackey says:

    Wow, great post. Almost brought tears to my eyes. Such an important issue. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Great post. My son s 4 and goes to kindy. He is speech delayed. We had a parent-teacher meeting last week where they mentioned that another 4yo is ‘trying’ to take advantage of that and has been banned from interacting with my son. I know they’re only 4 but it’s scary thinking kids start bullying so young!

  3. Wow great message! I remember being picked on and hating it. The bullies have something going on in their life too! see There was a boy that kept calling us names and making fun of me all the time. I hated him for it. What I didn’t know was his father had committed suicide and he was made at the world. Later in his life he too committed suicide. I am not saying it is an excuse to bully, I am saying something needs to be done.

  4. Kelly Burroughs Crowell says:

    Heather,

    Thank you so much having the guts to share your story!! Thousands and thousands of children suffer each and every day because of bullies and we NEED TO TAKE A STAND!!! If you haven’t already please check out http://thebullyproject.com/ because this new documentary needs to be seen by each and every child, parent, teacher, and school official around the country.

  5. SO very tragic and never acceptable! Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  6. It makes me so sad that there are so many mean kids out there. I ate the thought that someone is treated so badly that they want to kill themselves. 🙁 I hope that we can al spread the word and get bullying to STOP!!

  7. Jennifer Hedden says:

    This is a great post. Thank you for sharing your story. I was bullied growing up in Elementary school too. I am so glad that people are more aware of and concerned with bullying now then they were when I was growing up.

  8. I like that this problem is being addressed. growing up is hard enough without adding bulling on, too. It needs to be stopped

  9. Jennifer Cutter-Hobbs says:

    I really hate how much bullying has been our country. It’s so scary and makes me sad for my children.

  10. Melissa says:

    I live in NJ, and we have tough bullying laws. I’m a teacher, and had to go through 3 or so hours of training in September about bullying, harassment and intimidation. Everyone in my school had to complete the training, even the custodians. My district has an anti-bullying curriculum that we have to complete, and my school has an anti-bullying committee for the teachers and a club for the kids. It’s such an important issue and I know that everyone, at least in my school, takes every case very seriously. Our kids are trained in recognizing the difference between bullying and “normal” peer conflict in every grade. I was able to get a project funded on donorschoose.org to get additional anti-bullying materials for my self-contained 7/8 class, because I want to prepare them for high school.

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