Wednesday, March 14, 2012

TEASING vs BULLYING


I did a recent middle school visit at a school and found that a child committed suicide in the school. Sadness. My heart broke for the school and the child. During my visit on the STOP THE VIOLENCE panel the kids asked all kinds of questions, but most of them focused around bullying.

This one question stuck firmly in my mind and made me remember something my grandmother used to tell me.

IF YOU DON'T HAVE ANYTHING NICE TO SAY, DON'T SAY NOTHING AT ALL!

I used to hate when she reminded me of that considering I was a snarky teen who thought she knew it all. I had an opinion on everything and didn’t have a problem telling it the way I saw it – especially because people didn’t have a problem reminding me that I was “short”, a “four eyes”, a “square”, a “bastard”, had a uni-brow and much more.
TEASING CAN LEAD TO BULLYING
Although it may seem innocent, teasing can stir the beginnings of bullying. I’ll take my own childhood example.
I was constantly teased for having a uni-brow and being fat. I mean, I was teased about this by my family, by friends, by teachers, heck even people I didn’t know.
My response usually was to just laugh it off. So those perpetrators thought that their teasing didn’t mean anything to me and that I Was In On Their Joke….but deep down inside, with all those people saying the same thing over and over to me – well, I started to think that what they said was true.
HOW TEASING TURNS TO BULLYING
So, since so many people were ‘teasing’ me about my uni-brow and my weight, I started to hate those things about myself, because…THEY DIDN’T CHOSE TO SAY SOMETHING NICE – WHAT THEY SAID WAS MEAN, and even now as a writer – I have to fight the negativity and let only the positivity in. But at that time, I was a kid, and all any kid wants to do is – be accepted.
I figured I could change those things about myself, and the first thing I did was shave my eyebrows. Let me tell you – that didn’t go over too well. Everyone noticed and I got teased worst for it. I let them grow back.
My weight, well, I wasn’t fat, but I was chunky and at 14yrs old when I wanted a boyfriend like my friends had, I thought I could set off to drop some weight. Then the ‘teasing’ changed and people started giving me compliments, only thing was, I was losing weight to the point of near starvation, fainting, and anorexia. Thankfully I had a very aware grandmother, who stepped in, talked to me, explained to me how beautiful I was inside, that I had to eat and she made sure I did. She told me NO ONE WILL LOVE YOU IF YOU DON’T LOVE YOURSELF FIRST.
Wow – and she told me to LOOK IN THE MIRROR to REMIND MYSELF I AM LOVED. You know what, she did it with me that first day, and even more so after that, until one day – I started to do it for myself.
SO SHARE WITH ME HOW YOU HAVE OVERCOME BULLYING. How you don’t let negativity from nasty words affect you.

Here are other bloggers talking about Bullying:

Nicole Zoltack - www.NicoleZoltack.com
PK Hrezo - http://pk-hrezo.blogspot.com

18 comments:

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth said...

I was "teased" a lot too. I felt bullied. The other kids knew it too. Bullying is out of control. I wish someone would do something about it. And the worst part is a lot of times it's done by athletes and cheer leaders who have good grades and are involved on campus, so they get a pass.

Mardel said...

Great grandma. Give yourself credit also, for listening to her. There are many teens who don't listen when someone is concerned about them. I worry about a niece of mine, and I let her know. Not sure what's going on, but her family is all - she's just thin....yeah. she used to be muscular. And she has this passivity issue, everyone in her family is "stronger" than her. I should say more domineering. So Something is going on. I'll just keep bugging her about.

Linda Jackson said...

LM, thanks for sharing this. I also suffered at the hands of bullies in school. I was too skinny, too dark, and too "smart". I can't tell you how many times I wouldn't turn in my homework just because the cool kids didn't have theirs, or how often I would sneak and apply bleaching creams to my face in an effort to lightening my skin.

Elementary school was rough, but I survived. And somehow we've got to get the message to these children that they, too, will survive. Because, honestly, I don't think bullying is going away, especially when children see that adults are still doing it themselves. :(

E. Arroyo said...

School is tough. Some kid had put a banana peel inside my son's book bag in the library. Then the kid kicked my son's bookbag in front of the school. There was growing animosity and I called the school. The asst principal wanted to brush it off I said Heck no! Bullying is very serious and I made sure this pricipal nipped it in the bud. I'm glad my son talks to me, but imagine the others that don't. Uh...it just kills me.

LM Preston said...

After several years of visiting schools as a parent I see things so differently now. I realize that some kids bully others - because they are being bullied at home.

Jessica Bell said...

So sorry to hear about your teasing. What your grandmother did for you is wonderful! :o) PS: Dawn's link is Dawn Dalton: http://www.dawnmdalton.blogspot.com/

Dawn Dalton said...

I am so sorry about your teasing...and I get it. My story is similar - I was teased about my acne. So much so that I would SKIP school whenever I had a bad breakout.

Your Grandma is awesome.

Matthew MacNish said...

We've got to stop this. Only responsible adults have the power to do something.

Nicole Zoltack said...

I'm so glad you had such a wonderful grandmother! You're so right about teasing be able to turn into bullying. It's a shame that more people don't realize that their words can hurt.

Stephen Tremp said...

Hi LM, first time visitor and great to meet you! You had an astute grandmother and she stepped in to help you find balance. It saddens me to see kids without the structure and support of their family to help them when they really need it. Great post and thanks for sharing with us.

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Pk Hrezo said...

Wow LM. God bless your grandmother. What a great lady. No matter how strong or tough a kid may seem, they always take these things to heart. And teasing hurts. It always amazes me how un-empathetic peeps can be. How can anyone get pleasure from making others hurt? And how can anyone not be aware of how teasing makes peeps feel? I'll never understand it.
Hey if your book tour ever makes it down to FLA be sure to let me know so we can meet up! :)

Claire Hennessy said...

Great post, thanks for sharing. I was bullied at school too, when I was 10, and my grandfather told me if I could learn to laugh at myself then it would take the wind out of their sails. He was right - although I have perhaps taken it to extremes! It would have been good to know some other tools.

SA Larsenッ said...

Wow, LM. ((hugs)) Thank you for sharing this and for raising awareness about this important issue. It touches so many of our lives.

Laura Marcella said...

I'm so sorry you had to endure that. I endured the usual teasing about stupid stuff, but I was never bullied to the point I felt horrible about myself (well, never for more than a day anyway.) I went to Catholic school so my class was small and most of us had known each other since kindergarten, and I know uniforms often help curtail teasing and bullying. In high school my class was bigger since all the area Catholic grade schools went to the HS, but bullying was weird there. The popular cliques from each grade bullied each other. I guess it made them feel better?? No idea because I definitely didn't associate with that crowd. Why is it that the popular kids are usually the mean kids? Doesn't make much sense.

Talli Roland said...

What a powerful reminder of how words really can hurt, and how they can lead to behaviour that hurts physically. Thank you for sharing.

D.J. Kirkby said...

Your gran? Way COOL! Thanks for sharing...

Catherine Stine said...

Yes, it's such a serious topic. I had anorexia but not from bullying. But I was teased around my nickname. It was just too easy to turn Kitsy into Titsy.