Today I’m doing something a little different for you guys. My friend Wendy emailed me and asked me if she could guest post. My answer to that is almost always no but Wendy feels passionate about an anti-bullying campaign and went on to explain to me how she almost lost her daughter. We’re all in this together so it’s my hope that Wendy’s words will touch you as much as they’ve touched me. With only an introduction and with zero editing here is what she has to say. Please listen.
When I opened the door, I looked into the tormented face of my 13 year old daughter clutching a handful of pills. She was attempting to swallow the pills to help her escape the pain of constantly being bullied. Her life had become too filled with pain and she thought the only way to find peace was to take a bottle of pills to get away from her tormentors, forever. My daughter, Ally, had mentioned that that her friends were being mean. She never wanted to go out, never wanted to have kids over, she just would curl up on the couch or in her room. I thought it was just teen aged angst. I noticed her phone would “ding” and she’d run into another room to read it, only to come out later with red eyes and and a bad attitude. She TOLD me she was being bullied, and I told her what I knew how to deal with bullies from when I was a teen: Don’t pay any attention to them, Ally. Sit with your friends. tell a teacher, just turn off your phone, don’t go on Facebook. Why can’t you just ignore them, Ally? Get a new group of friends. I had a million answers for her, until I had to ask her the unfathomable question:
Why do you want to die, Ally?
What I didn’t know at the time was that my daughter had been bullied for quite a while. Since second grade, according to her story that she shared on her blog, Losergurl. Bullying has changed so much since “we were kids”. When I was a teen, 20 something years ago, there wasn’t social media. Kids who wanted to bully you pretty much had to do it to your face. But now, bullying has changed so much and there is no escape. As a parent, I wasn’t prepared. I was the class mom, the PTA President, who knew every teacher in theschool, but I didn’t know how to talk to my kids about bullying. I didn’t know how to prepare either my son or daughter how to deal with today’s bullies until it was nearly too late. Many adults are as clueless about bullying as I was. Statistics show that more than 1 in 4 children a year (13 million) experience some form of bullying at school, on the bus, and elsewhere, making it the most common form of violence young people face in this country. Research shows that bullying is a concern for parents, but not something they proactively discuss with their children until it directly impacts their child. Bystanders can play a pivotal role—in fact, when a third party intervenes, bullying is significantly more likely to end. That’s why I’ve begun a Change.org petition to gather signature and hopefully funding to help kids be More than a Bystander and stand up to bullies. The “Be More than a Bystander” campaign empowers parents with the information and resources they need to talk to their children about bullying. By engaging with an interactive module online, parents can access fact sheets and watch videos that highlight the safe, simple, yet powerful actions children can take to help prevent and stop bullying. Research shows that when parents talk to their kids about bullying, their children are more likely to take action to stop bullying. And when bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds, 57% of the time.
Please, sign the petition to help support this valuable program for kids and adults alike. And please consider donating to the campaign. Funding will enable the campaign to reach more parents and help more kids.