Authors Against Bullying – the story of a terrified mother

I do not consider myself to be an author. But I saw the tweets for #AuthorsAgainstBullying and wanted to do something – however little my contribution is.

Every post I have read so far (and I have plenty more to read) are written from the point of someone who has suffered from bullying. I am shocked and horrified by the numbers of people, adults and children, who have been victimised at school. I have been reduced to tears by the accounts of those who were reduced to feeling so worthless and unloved that they could hurt themselves.

I cannot write this from the same personal level of understanding. I don’t believe I have been bullied. I write this as a terrified mother.

I went to boarding school. Living in a room full of girls exposes you to just about all the bitchiness, sarcasm, ganging up and nastiness that only girls can manage. The majority of those girls had parents in the Armed Forces or were otherwise very rich. My parents, on the other hand, worked their backsides off and went without luxuries to keep me there. I recall, within the first weeks of being there age 11, an after lights out conversation where I was told ‘Our dads save the country. What does you do?’ It was made clear to me I was inferior.

However, the focus of the bitchiness regularly moved on. There were 3 main instigators in our dormitory, but no one of the rest of us was singled out all the time. I think we all suffered from living in close proximity of other girls.

I never felt bullied. I did take with me certain issues when I left school. I preferred the company of one or two close friends than moving in a herd of girls. I felt inadequate, unfeminine and ugly. I wore sloppy jumpers and jeans and generally did what I could to avoid the notice of the alpha girls. But I don’t feel that I was bullied. Just cautious of the female of the species.

So this brings us to my fears now as a mother. I know how nasty kids can be, girls and boys. And that is just in general, as a group. I know how they can destroy your confidence and how you can end up crying yourself to sleep at night. I cannot imagine how much worse it would be to be individually singled out and victimised systematically.

My daughter is 6 and in her 3rd year of primary school. She has come home once in tears because her friends were mean to her. Collecting her from school and having her breakdown as soon as we reached the car was heartbreaking. I was furious that someone could make my child cry but also petrified that I didn’t know how to handle it and how to help her. As it turned out, I reacted by storming back into the school and demanding an explanation from the teacher as to what had happened and why they hadn’t seen it.

What worries me though, is how to help prepare her for secondary school, when the class sizes are so much larger, the potential for bitchiness so much more and when I can’t go storming into the school to fight her corner. How do I teach her to react to bullying? Should she ignore it? Report it? Shout back? Punch them in the nose, as my dad would say?

I don’t have a solution yet. But if anyone knows of a good one, please share it!


There is more information about Authors Against Bullying here!



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Authors Against Bullying – the story of a terrified mother — 8 Comments

  1. It’s a tough question… Even though I’d say I was bullied in school, I took it, moved on and have turned out okay. So, some would say that it’s best just to ride with the punches, ignore the bullies, and the worst of it will be behind you quickly enough (school only lasts so long). However, I often wonder how much more I could have gotten out of school if I had enjoyed being there. I wonder if it would have been better to risk getting in trouble once or twice and taken a few lumps to stand up for myself. I’ve already done the igonre them and continue to be absused routine, so if I had it to do all over again I think I would probably try to stand up for myself at least once just to see what happened…

  2. It seems there is no right or wrong way to handle the bully. I would suppose it depends on who was bullying, what they were doing (verbal or physical), solo or group, silly or aggressive. I do want my daughter to be able to manage herself and hold her own, but also to know when she needs to come and tell me she needs help.

  3. This is a tough one. I was bullied throughout school, now I am nearly 20 studying at university, and I feel it has made me a lot tougher on the people I’m meeting. I am always suspicious of people’s intentions when I meet them, but I don’t feel that is a necessarily “bad” part of my character.
    You need to just take it as it comes when she starts secondary school though, it may be she has no issues with bullies, just some small fall outs with friends. No matter what happens, make sure she feels comfortable talking to you about anything, that way she will never feel she is alone and she will always have someone to talk to. That’s how my mum helped me through it.

    • That’s great advice. I hope that we can always talk, although at some point I am sure I will be far too embarrassing for her to speak with – that happens about 16 doesn’t it?
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      • Haha yea, there will be some things she will feel awkward about, but that will mostly be boys she likes, there’s not much you can do about that, but with everything else you will do fine 🙂

  4. I wrote a post about bullying last month (There are creature and there are ‘creatures’). It’s a very interesting subject and a lot of people are passionate about ways to stop the bullies. It’s not only schools that are affected as it then flows over to the workplace.

    I understand your concerns about your daughter. I actually confronted my son’s bully one day after months of this boy physically abusing him, and (even though the bullying stopped after that) I wasn’t really proud of my actions!)

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