Bullying sucks. There’s no doubt about it. It exists when we’re children and when we’re adults. It happens in person and it happens over social media/texting, known as cyber-bullying. I was bullied when I was in secondary school. I wasn’t bullied for any specific reason (not like their should be a reason to bully!), I was just one of the fun ones to bully. It’s hard to know what to do, do you tell someone and hope the bullies don’t find out, or do you keep it bottled up and hope it disappears?
Please do forgive me for these old cringey photos of me…
It all started for me when I was around 12 years old. I hung around with the wrong crowd for the first year of school, but I soon found out that they weren’t very nice. I decided to jump ship pretty quickly and I joined a new friendship group. My old friends weren’t pleased about this. Their ‘ring leader’ ganged up on me every single day, whether it was from the other side of the corridor, giving me the odd shoulder push or threatening me right up close to my face. I can remember that day when she came about an inch away from my face threatening to punch me. I did nothing to hurt this girl, I just drifted away from their ‘group’. This day scared me, a lot.
I went home to my parents that night and told them everything that was going on. They held me off school for 3 days and told my deputy head teacher that if this carried on they’d be going to the police. Going back to school after having a few days off was one of the scariest things I did as a child. What was this girl going to do? She obviously knew that I told someone. Amazingly, things were great. I heard absolutely nothing from her.
From that day on I received odd moments of bullying from the ‘cool girls’ in my year. Now that I look back, they weren’t cool at all. They were the sort of girls that bullied most people who they weren’t friends with.
I’m Scared For My Son
Looking back at how I felt when I was getting bullied, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone but especially my own children. I look into my sons innocent eyes knowing that he knows nothing about what is going on in this world at the moment. I’ve had moments of worry that he’ll get bullied in school. School is a long way off but there is nothing stopping me from being worried.
I’m not sure how I would react if I found out any of my children were being bullied. Would I be more distraught or angry? Would I be able to keep calm? All I know is I’d do anything I can do to stop it. If I found out my child was the bully, well, I couldn’t image how upset I would be.
What Can We Do To Help Fight Bullying?
I’ve always had this plan that when I go to visit a potential secondary school my son might be going to, the main question I’m going to ask is ‘What is your bullying policy?’. Their reaction will help me decide whether I want him to go to this school or not. I don’t want to wrap my son up in a little bubble so he never gets hurt, but from my experience of bullying in secondary school, I don’t want that to happen to him. Bullying isn’t necessary. I once read a comment someone made on bullying and that was ‘toughen up and get thicker skin.’ Now I don’t know about you but no one should have to toughen up because they’re getting bullied. We should be asking ourselves why bullies exist in the first place.
I don’t know what creates a bully. I don’t understand why someone has the desire to hurt someone physically or mentally. Is it boredom? Is it the parenting? Is it to try and ‘impress’ others? Is it jealousy? I don’t know what it is. All I know is I want to try and help stop bullying. I know it would be a miracle to make it disappear completely, but we can all at least try and make it non-existent as much as possible.
I want to raise my children up to respect everyone, not just ‘respecting their elders’ or ‘respecting the adults’ but to respect everyone, and that includes their peers. If we can all learn to respect and love our differences and to not put down a certain ‘type’ of person, well maybe bullying might soften a little bit.
Let’s make this happen. We need to teach our children to respect one another. We don’t need to like someone to respect them.
I wish I could talk to those who bullied me during school, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin if I did. I’d like to ask them why they did it. Why did they try to make each day for me hell when I was at school. It affected me in so many different ways. Obviously, it affected me mentally, it caused my studying to slack and it made me become a very enclosed girl. I find it difficult to express my emotions to this day. It’s definitely contributed to my anxieties. I don’t want my son to go through any of this, so I’m going to do my best to make sure he grows up into an honest and respectful young man.
Have you got any experience with bullying on either side? Are you worried for your children? I’d love to know your thoughts.