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March 29, 2012

My friend at workingberlinmum recently posted about the new ‘Bully’ documentary and project that are (hopefully) taking the USA by storm.

Watching the trailer, I couldn’t help shed a tear or 10. The thought of losing a child to suicide as a result of bullying is like a knife through the chest and my heart broke at the little boy who was going through Hell every day of his school life.

I too was bullied at school, mostly for not being the typical slim build that was the norm in the ’80’s. I was NEVER slim but I was always tall and rather cumbersome. Occasionally, I wished I could just shrink to normal size and melt into the crowd, that I could do a handstand or cartwheel, that I wasn’t such a swot or that I wouldn’t be the last to be picked in sport.

Later into my teens, I became suicidal after being bullied by an ex boyfriend and his new love interest. Fear saved my life then but the trauma was so great that I sought counselling when I eventually escaped to Uni, 240 miles away.

My bullying experience is imcomparable with the things that go on in this digital age: Facebook, Twitter, SMS, Youtube, blogs, chat… The bullying doesn’t stop at the school gate any longer and young people are plagued even in their own homes by cruel taunts and jibes that can shatter their only-just-developing self confidence. Many children actually do commit suicide.

I don’t even know where to begin with educating my son to overcome this major ‘fact of life’ when the time comes. I suppose ensuring that he knows he can tell me everything, showing him ways to combat bullying without violence and helping him to develop a strong sense of self and self confidence are the first steps but if anyone has the magic formula, please do divulge…

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