Archives for August, 2012
Gabby Douglas won my heart -- and I'm sure others -- during the Olympic Games this summer. Her ever positive attitude and clear dedication to the sport is evident with her team gold medal and All-Around gold medal. She quite admirable. Yet, she was bullied by other gymnasts. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Gabby and her mother shared how she wanted to quit the sport if she couldn't change coaches or gyms. The sentiments expressed suggest that Gabby felt bullied because she was different. "I felt being bullied...isolated from the group and...just...they treated me...not how they would treat their other teammates." Racial and ethnic diversity is lacking in many US Olympic sports teams and it is quite unfortunate that it is so. I would go further to suggest that the combination of her racial differences and her exceptional talent made her an unfortunate target.
Huffington Post blogger Kergan Edwards-Stout posted an interview with Azaan Kamau, editor of the new anthology,"Letters To My Bully." Mr. Edwards-Stout wrote the preface to the anthology as well as a letter to his own bully. He was the target of cruel bullying for years after coming out as a gay teen. After reading Mr. Edwards-Stouts letter, I sat teary-eyed at my desk. Empathy. It was powerful, poetic with a twinge of sadness and regret. His voice, as well as the thousands who are/have been targeted, need to be heard. The LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Community has rallied to let their younger members know, it gets better.
You may have already heard about 14-year-old Nadia Ilse, who got plastic surgery after years of torment for having "elephant ears." Kids are cruel! Yet, as I read several different articles/blogs about Nadia, I wondered if the surgery circumvented an important process to unfold which could have lead to a "bully free" environment for in that community. Dr. Vivian Diller eloquently stated her concerns, which I share, in the ABC News interview: "When you surgically alter the victim of a bully, isn't it questionable that message we are sending is that the burden lies on the victim and not on a culture that is fueling some bullying trend that we know is going on." Nadia received the surgery pro bono from the Little Baby Face Foundation. Dr. Thomas Romo III, who is the foundation's President and performed the surgery, stated that Nadia was not picked because she was a victim of bullying but rather because her deformity fit the Organization's criteria.
Hello All! While away, I received an email from Megan Landry. She is a 15-year-old Canadian singer/songwriter who wrote the song, "Stronger." In her email she said: I wrote this because of a personal experience. I did the video myself too. I was not going to let them break me. Reality: if it shows that it bothers you, they'll just do it more. I hope this will help those that are starting to feel torn down — to rise up! Don't let anyone make you a victim. They aren't worth it. I hope my song will give other kids the power "to look right over their heads." Because in the end bullying is really about power. Why give anyone that satisfaction over you! I didn't, and I won't and I hope more and more kids don't either.
Hello All! "Beating the Bully" will be taking a summer vacation and will be back blogging on August 13th! Until then I'll have some of the most read posts up for your enjoyment. We all know bullying is unhealthy for one's emotional well-being, but a new study from Sweden shares its findings on how bullying from adolescence can affect one's physical health into middle age. Researchers have discovered that teenagers who are ostracized at school are more likely to be at risk of developing heart disease and diabetes when they enter middle age. They are more likely to be obese, have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as being at greater risk of developing diabetes by their early 40s. Furthermore, the study found that girls were much more susceptible to the health risks associated with bullying.
Hello All! "Beating the Bully" will be taking a summer vacation and will be back blogging on August 13th! Until then I'll have some of the most read posts up for your enjoyment. "It's in my job description as your mother to keep you safe," is how one mother in a group of parents I've been working with explains why she does what she does. The question that plagues parents is: is my child safe when they aren't with me?* When a parent finds out that their child has been victimized by bullying, a myriad of emotions and questions arise: Why is this happening to my child? Has this happened more than once? If it has why didn't they tell me sooner? Why hasn't anyone at school done anything? What do I do? There have been two stories in the news recently: one parent wiring his son to catch his teachers bullying him and another providing her son a stun gun to protect himself from bullies. Both sets of parents took what some would call extreme measures to protect their children. But how extreme are those measures?
Hello All! "Beating the Bully" will be taking a summer vacation and will be back blogging on August 13th! Until then I'll have some of the most read posts up for your enjoyment. Much of what is written about bullying focuses on what to do if your child is a victim. Little is written on what to do if your child is actually a bully. When parents find out their child has been bullying others, I have witnessed them initially respond in a variety of different ways: utter shame and guilt, tempered anger, quiet embarrassment or denial and defensiveness. Neither response is 'good' or 'bad,' and frankly, I would never want to be in that position. We want our children to be viewed in the best light possible. Being labeled a bully can inadvertently foster a social role/expectation among a child's peer group and school community, thus perpetuating the bullying cycle. The first step to stop bullying is having the child's community at large - parents, school staff and most importantly peers - respond to it when it's happening.