(This is our 4th post in our blog series on bullying.)
The following post is written by a 17 year-old student from one of the local high schools in Halton Region. The Halton Parents team is honoured to share this post with our readers and we are grateful to this student for telling us about her direct experiences with bullying. We have chosen to protect her identity to limit her exposure online, but hope that you will find value in her personal story, told in her own words, with thoughts on how parents can make a difference.
For a while I didn’t tell my mother about it – I just cried it out and returned back to normal. Each day I found myself in the same situations, sometimes even worse. One day it got so bad – a girl had several boys from my grade try and physically beat me up in an alcove on our lunch break. The people in my grade bullied me about my weight. I was somewhat overweight but children find anything to pick on in that age group…even in high school, not much has changed. So I changed myself, my reactions, and thankfully I no longer get bullied. Once they got to know me for who I am, they realized I wasn’t such a bad person and that we were all kids trying to find our way in life. At the same time, I was going through family struggles and experiencing depression and anxiety. My parents were in the middle of a divorce and life as I knew it was changing forever.
When times got really tough, I spoke to my mother about it and she sent me to a therapist to vent my emotions and get some help. She also spoke with the principal several times and they dealt with my situations as needed. Another technique that allowed me to overcome my depression and anxiety was playing sports, and joining the Improvisation Company at my high school (in grade 9) – it helps improve confidence and the ability to think quickly on your feet.
I am also a part of the Halton Partners in Bullying Prevention and I love it because it has allowed me to build my character, and raise myself up to be a better individual. Through this program, I have gained confidence, shared ideas, and even contributed to group events and planning. Now, I will share my story of what I experienced growing up.
My tips for kids:
- Be the bigger person: If there’s a situation you are not comfortable with, walk away from it and make your own individual decision. (Relates to peer pressure, bully situation, etc).
- Don’t be afraid and stand up for yourself: It’s ok to stand up for yourself and talk back to the bully; however just make sure you don’t provoke them.
- Talk to your parents/a teacher/a friend/the principal: The biggest thing that helped me out was speaking to somebody I trusted about my problems. They were dealt with right away and were put an end to.
My tips for parents:
- Encourage your children: As far as parenting goes, the number one thing that helped me was when my mom made herself available to any conversation I felt like sharing. Encourage your kids to be open and share their daily routines with you.
- Look for signs: Signs of depression include nausea, crying routinely, doing badly in school, being silent, removing themselves from team sports/groups etc. If you notice any of these signs, try and communicate with them.
- Love your kids unconditionally: Finally, due to the amount of suicides around the ages of 5-20, love is the number one emotion every child needs. They need to know they are loved and cared about no matter what.