Bullying is a topic close to my heart, and one that’s come to mind again as my daughter takes the first step on her educational path without me tomorrow when she starts pre-school. It seems even more complicated now than it did when I was a teen in the 90s being bullied at school. Kids these days can’t always leave their sorrow behind at the school gate, when they get home it’s waiting for them on a plethora of social media. I worry now as every parent does how my child will cope as she becomes embroiled in school life, friendships, and the inevitable hierarchy of what’s cool and what’s not, reinforced by ‘likes’, ‘loves’, followers, etc. God forbid she has to experience what I did, which was brought on by my withdrawal from friendships circles (and life in general really) after my dad left my mum when I was 13.
I’ve been reflecting over the last few days what advice I would offer a child being bullied, and this seems even more pertinent as a new anti-bullying campaign kicks off this week by The Diana Award. Here’s my starter for 10:
1. They don’t hate you, you’re just going through some tough shit which is making you dislike yourself.
2. Further to point 1, there’s nothing wrong with you you’re just having a natural reaction to what’s happened in your life.
3. You are NOT ugly.
4. You don’t have to look like the girls in the magazines or on TV, your body is unique and lovely just how it is.
5. Don’t fall into the trap of slagging others off to be popular. If that’s what these ‘friends’ expect from you then they’re not really friends. Be kind and treat others well.
6. Tell someone about the ones who are bullying you, don’t be afraid. You have to break your silence to remove their power.
7. Do the things YOU love, not what other people want to do.
8. STOP worrying what other people think
9. Repeat no.8, because it’s bloody important.
10. Be fearless… You CAN, you CAN, you CAN.
Image – Diana-Award.org.uk