For posts on bullying, visit The Learn to be Buddies Series Blog.
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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bullies... where are they now?

When asked what was of most concern about returning to school after the Christmas break, one mother said, "Bullying!" And I am sure this concern is not unique to her.

I could talk about prevention mechanisms, protection processes, rights and responsibilities... but that probably wouldn't help and I will discuss this elsewhere. And I can't stop the bullying or the possibility of bullying, though like many I would love to have a magic wand that waves and makes everyone buddies.

So today I just want to share some hope...

With our support, with the love and care of important people around them, children who have been bullied can not only survive - but can conquer.

Take Tom Cruise for example.

His difficulties with academics due to dyslexia, and his constant moving from school to school meant that he was a target of bullying. But with the love and encouragement of his mother, and his dogged determination, he has made something of himself.

I wonder where his bullies are now?

Then there is Kate Winslet.

Being overweight, she was taunted about this for two years. But with the supporting ear of her mother, and a friendship that made her feel secure in herself, she has had success both in her work and her personal life.

I wonder if those who bullied her ever feel regret?

Then there is Harrison Ford.

Small, shy, a little different, he was the ideal target for bullying. But with an attitude of endurance, an attitude said to be very annoying to his attackers, he came out the other side.

I wonder what his tormentors think about him now?

While I can't tell them here, I know stories of "real" people for whom friendships, strong determination, self-esteem, humour or the love of a parent or mentor have made a significant difference in their battle against bullying.

The experience of being bullied does leave scars, and the effects should not be romanticised or down-played. But those scars can be turned to good account in our lives. The need for determination and endurance can help us succeed. The questioning of our value by others can help us examine and learn to rate our value by those who care most.

So, though I know this post won't cure the knot in your stomach, or dry the tears of distress when trying to help your child deal with bullying, my wish is that these stories will help you look forward in hope. That they will help you and your child face bullying with determination, not defeat. That you and your child will continue to pursue your dreams, to value self and life, to talk about the hard times, to build connections, to love, to laugh, to play....

Bullying is painful and can change the course of a life, but it need not be the end of the world.

Talk. Love. Grow.



tiff(threeringcircus) January 30, 2010 at 1:56 PM  

I was terribly bullied as a kid. Right up to about year nine in highschool. I was terrified.

I learnt some great coping skills though, which have carried me through adulthood and I've been able to help my own children through times of being bullied and teased.

Amanda January 30, 2010 at 2:01 PM  

Thanks for sharing, Tiff... I think it is so important to find some positives out of terrible situations :)

robyn January 31, 2010 at 1:26 AM  


hopefully the schools have got their anti bullying policies up and running and kids feel ok about going to a teacher to report their tormentor.

i was bullied and teased at school because i had very sweaty hands. it was the most horrid experience i can remember. i was bullied in other ways during primary school and a bit in high school.

i did a research paper on bullying and the bullies end up in workplaces - promoted because it is a way to move them away from the trouble they cause.

my worst experience of it was at my former workplace and as a result i have not worked for ages and am scared of going back to work in case it happens again. no one whether a school student or an adult needs to go through this torment to the stage where they stay home sick because of the fear of going to work or school.

it would be great to share what the school policies are on bullying and remind parents to talk to their kids if they seem them withdrawing or suddenly not wanting to go to school, activities. also i would love to know what skills people have taught their kids to deal with the school bully. if they have the confidence to deal with the school bully, they will get through troubles at uni or work. i just wish we had such policies when i was at school then the bullying by the students and teachers wouldn't have happened.

Adelaide Dupont January 31, 2010 at 1:41 PM  

And actually bullies can and do change.

Most of the time.

Another famous person who has dyslexia and was bullied is Jessica Watson.

Amanda January 31, 2010 at 10:40 PM  

Thanks for that comment, Robyn. I am so sorry that the workplace has been a place where you have experienced bullying.

I will definitely talk more about anti-bullying policies.. have have talked about them a little (see the bullying link above)... I just thought this time was a good time to look for some hope.

It is great to see how the policies have changed over the years to increase protection for our children.

Amanda January 31, 2010 at 10:54 PM  

And, yes, Adelaide... I so agree that bullies can and do change!!!!

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