Bullying

Taking Care of Your Family's Health and Well-being, Saints to Turn to, and the Catholic Faith

Bullying is when someone gets teased, made fun of, gossiped about or physically harmed. We hear stories all the time about kids being bullied. This occurs at school, on the playground and for older kids – online, which is called cyber bullying.  The worst stories about kids being bullied end in tragedy and grief.  Bullying can cause low self esteem, thoughts of and, or carrying out suicide.

Bullying Leads to Suicide

According to the CDC suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. Approximately 4,400 children and adolescents under the age of 18 commit suicide each year. Nearly 15 percent of high-school students have considered suicide and about 7 percent have attempted it.  Yale University studies have concluded that kids that are bullied are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than kids that are not bullied.  Girls between the ages of 10 to 14 years old are at a higher risk of suicide according to a study from Britain. That same study also concluded that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying.  ABC news reported that nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying.  Most of these kids stay home from school because they are afraid of being bullied at school.

Why does the United States have a bullying crisis in our schools? We see anti-bullying messages on t-shirts, bumper stickers, flyers and online, yet our kids are not getting the message.  Most bullies have other issues. They either come from broken homes, are abused, or have gone through a tragic event in their lives. The bullies are the ones that need help. This should start within our families.

Love and Kindness Stops Bullying

Over the years the family unit has broken down. Half of marriages end in divorce. More children are being shuffled through foster homes or raised by grandparents. The ones that are raised by just mom have to learn how to take care of themselves because mom is out working two or three jobs. The pews in our churches are empty. Sports is taking a priority over faith.  The bullies are not taught about love and kindness in their homes. This is also a lesson that a lot of parents must learn too.

My family has been personally impacted by bullying.  Fortunately, we had a happy ending.  This is our story.

From 2010 to 2014 we lived in a small town just outside of Spokane, Washington. The airport was nearby and we often heard and saw airplanes flying over our home.  Our neighborhood was also close to an Air Force base. My children went to school with kids from military families. Most of those kids moved around a lot and would move within a couple of years.  My children made new friends each year and our home was the place to hang out for kids in our neighborhood.

My daughter was surrounded by friends and she was one of the most popular girls in her second grade class.  She was in the school talent show and people raved about her performance for months afterwards. Her self esteem and spirits were high.

Moving from California to Washington State and the birth of her baby brother was stressful for my little girl. This stress turned into anxiety and she started to pull her hair out to cope. It started with just her eyelashes.  We were able to hide her bare eyelids behind glasses so her peers didn’t notice.  She handled her trichotillomania well and had a therapist to help her.  She knew she was different but this didn’t stop her from making and keeping friends.

In the summer of 2014 we moved from Washington to Illinois, just outside of Chicago to be closer to family and so my husband could start a new job.  This is when my daughter’s whole world turned upside down.  She had a hard time adjusting to her new school in third grade.  When she attempted to make friends the girls in her class told her that she couldn’t be their friend because she was the new girl. They called her weird, gossiped about her and told other girls not to play with her on the playground.  This was the first time she fell victim to bullying.

A few weeks later my daughter came home from school in tears.  She told me all about what the other girls in her class were saying and how they were treating her.  Then she said that she hated herself and wanted to jump out her bedroom window.  She said that she didn’t want to go to school ever again and she just wanted to die.  I didn’t know what to do. I was heartbroken and grieving for my little girl.

My husband rushed home from work. We called the crisis line and locked her windows so she couldn’t open them. I went on a long walk with her to try to calm her down. I was terrified about what would happen to her if the bullying continued.

That school year I had several meetings with her teacher, the principal and assistant principal.  My daughter never had a difficult time making friends until we moved to Chicago.  She was too scared to even try to make friends.

Reach Out to Your Children to Stop Bullying

After a few years of therapy and medication my daughter is doing much better now.  She is still pulling her hair out, but the medication is helping improve that and her depression.  We were lucky that she opened up to us about the bullying and we got help for her.  A lot of families are not as lucky.

Everyone knows someone who has been a victim of bullying. Most of us also know someone who suffers from depression and thoughts of suicide due to bullying.  There are many ways we can reach out to these young people before they choose suicide as their way out.

In the new book, “Bullied Dying to Fit in,” author Normandy D. Piccolo explains why kids are being bullied, how to stop being a victim and how to develop a positive outlook on life.  The book is written for young people. The author includes creative sketches and language that kids and adolescents can understand.

I thoroughly enjoyed the positive messages and ideas to help kids improve their self esteem and prevent bullying.  I still believe that the bullies need just as much help as the victims of bullying.  These troubled youths haven’t been taught how to love others, be kind and show respect.  Bullies and the bullied can equally learn how to be kind to others and love themselves by reading, “Bullied, Dying to fit in.”  This book should be in every school library, therapists’ offices, and homes. It is a must read for parents, students, educators and mental health professionals.

“Bullied Dying to Fit in,” can be purchased on Amazon.com.  To learn more about the author, Normandy Piccolo and for more information about her book visit www.normandysbrightideas.com.

 

 

 

Bullying
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