When Clay Aiken was gracious enough to answer questions from his fans on Friday, it was almost hard to keep up. But one serious question stood out and the answer was amazing.
A fan said that she had been bullied her entire life. She wanted to develop a thick skin like Clay and needed some help.
Clay Aiken’s answer was caring, helpful and intelligent.
Clay first stated that he is not thick-skinned and is not impervious to the pain. However, he suggested that the very best word to remember is IGNORE.
Recognizing that ignoring a bully is hard, Clay suggested that most bullies will stop when they see they are not affecting you. He also suggested that the most powerful result of ignoring is from within. The person being bullied needs to focus on the good things in their life and the things that make them happy. When you do that, you won’t have time to worry about the haters and they will not matter anymore.
Clay suggested that he had never seen a bully that wasn’t insecure about themselves. He feels that most bullies are mean to a person because they find a trait they don’t really like. This is because they are insecure about that trait in themselves. Because of their insecurity, a bully gets a rush of superiority when they can hurt someone.
Clay Aiken is a wise man.
The topic of bullying has become an important discussion, especially recently. Perhaps it is because it permeates all parts of our lives.
Bullying is intentional tormenting in physical, verbal, or psychological ways. It can range from hitting, shoving, name-calling, threats, and mocking to extorting money and treasured possessions. Some people bully by shunning others and spreading rumors about them. Others use email, chat rooms, instant messages, social networking websites, and text messages to taunt others or hurt their feelings.
It’s important to take bullying seriously and not just brush it off as something that we have to tolerate. The effects can be serious and affect a person’s sense of self-worth and future relationships. In severe cases, bullying has contributed to tragedies, such as school shootings.
There are a variety of reasons that people bully others. Sometimes they pick on someone because they need a victim – someone who seems emotionally or physically weaker, or just acts or appears different in some way – to feel more important, popular, or in control. Although some bullies are bigger or stronger than their victims, that’s not always the case.
It is not uncommon for bullies to torment others because that’s the way they’ve been treated. They may think their behavior is normal because they come from families or other settings where everyone regularly gets angry, shouts, or calls names. Some popular TV shows even seem to promote meanness – people are “voted off,” shunned, or ridiculed for their appearance or lack of talent.
Bullying with children is very sad and often times the child does not share their pain with an adult. Unless a child tells you about bullying or has visible bruises or injuries, it can be difficult to figure out its happening.
But it is a huge problem. Look at the following statistics.
- The United State Department of Justice reports that 1 out of every 4 children will be bullied by another youth in school this month.
- The American Association of School Psychologists reported that every day in America, over 160,000 children miss school for fear of being bullied.
- Teasing, bullying and rejection tops the list of triggers in contemplated suicides.
There are some warning signs to look for. You might notice your child acting differently or seeming anxious, or not eating, sleeping well, or doing the things that he or she usually enjoys. When kids seem moodier or more easily upset than usual, or when they start avoiding certain situations, like taking the bus to school, it may be because of a bully.
The key to helping kids is providing strategies that deal with bullying on an everyday basis and also help restore their self-esteem and regain a sense of dignity.
The following are some other strategies to discuss with kids that can help improve the situation and make them feel better. These suggestions are from Kids Health Organization
- Avoid the bully and use the buddy system. Use a different bathroom if a bully is nearby and don’t go to your locker when there is nobody around. Make sure you have someone with you so that you’re not alone with the bully. Buddy up with a friend on the bus, in the hallways, or at recess – wherever the bully is. Offer to do the same for a friend.
- Hold the anger. It’s natural to get upset by the bully, but that’s what bullies thrive on. It makes them feel more powerful. Practice not reacting by crying or looking red or upset. It takes a lot of practice, but it’s a useful skill for keeping off of a bully’s radar. Sometimes kids find it useful to practice “cool down” strategies such as counting to 10, writing down their angry words, taking deep breaths or walking away. Sometimes the best thing to do is to teach kids to wear a “poker face” until they are clear of any danger (smiling or laughing may provoke the bully).
- Act brave, walk away, and ignore the bully. Firmly and clearly tell the bully to stop, then, walk away. Practice ways to ignore the hurtful remarks, like acting uninterested or texting someone on your cell phone. By ignoring the bully, you’re showing that you don’t care. Eventually, the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother you.
- Tell an adult. Teachers, principals, parents, and lunchroom personnel at school can all help stop bullying.
- Talk about it. Talk to someone you trust, such as a guidance counselor, teacher, sibling, or friend. They may offer some helpful suggestions, and even if they can’t fix the situation, it may help you feel a little less alone.
- Remove the incentives. If the bully is demanding your lunch money, start bringing your lunch. If he’s trying to get your music player, don’t bring it to school.
It is possible to lessen the impact of the bullying. Whatever the age group, people should be encouraged to get together with friends that help build confidence. Meet other people by joining clubs or sports programs. And find activities that can help a person feel confident and strong. Maybe it’s a self-defense class like karate or a movement or other gym class.
And just remember: as upsetting as bullying can be lots of people and resources are available to help.
Another thank you to Clay Aiken for answering an important question and putting it on the line to help others.
Absolutely brilliant blog. Valuable information on how to handle bullying that all kids should see. Thanks
Oh, and that Clay Aiken guy is pretty damn smart.
I just love Clay Aiken, he is such a smart man and a great role model for children. Unfortunately, bullying is still going on in our schools..and I believe the Media is someone who puts it out there..and the youth of today believe it is the way to act. Clay's book LTS is a wonderful book for young people to read, as it explains it perfectly.
The bullying topic was probably the most important question Clay Aiken answered during his Q&A session with fans this weekend. Thank you for an excellent feature on the topic.
Have a great week!
Sometimes I just wonder when I see what is on the news…the media…tabloids…that the bullying has not stopped but actually become a way of life.. It's as if they have a free reign in picking people apart..making fun of them. How on earth can we teach our children that bullying is not accepted, when we sit and watch shows that do just that???? It's got to start from adults to put a stop to it. No tolerance…period!!!
Clay gave such a great answer..but he has been bullyied his whole life..so I can see where he has become an expert in it. He is always willing to share, to improve peoples lives..especially kids.
EXCELLENT article musicfan! I was so impressed with Clay Aiken’s answer (he certainly has had to endure his share of bullying).
I am blessed that the school my son goes to has zero tolerance for bullying – automatic suspension. That’s the way it should be.
Great article and great answer from Clay! If anyone knows about bullying it is Clay! He is so insightful and gets right to the heart of the matter. No child or person of any age should have to tolerate being bullied.
Clay Aiken’s answer regarding the bullying question was so very wise, and from someone who has been bullied.This is a burning issue at this time in schools across the country.
Excellent article, musicfan.
Clay Aiken wrote “Learning to Sing” early in his career. It should be required reading in middle school in helping young people to cope with our “bullying” population and its consequences.
One of the questions posed to Clay Aiken that he addressed was about bullying. We are seeing the consequences of this with the two recent suicides of 11 year old boys being hurt with words like “gay”. That bullying led them to take their lives. A true American tragedy.
Clay is a very smart man thanks for posting this. Im love Just You revisited too!
Excellent topic. Bullying is still very much an issue in our schools but the more it is exposed and talked about, I feel we have a better chance exposing all types of bullying. I have years of frustration dealing with the effects it had on my sons and with the non-issue attitude from the administration.
What a great write up. Someone must be really insecure and doubt their abilities to try elevate themself by knocking someone else. Someone who’s confident doesn’t need to have proof of their worth.
Clay Aiken has learned from experience and is so gifted in giving advice to others suffering from bullying. Thank you for featuring his answer on this subject.
Such a smart man and what a great blog.
It is sad that bullying is not just among children and teens, adults involve themselves in this, also. Not very good role models.
This is such an important topic! Thanks for this in-depth look and for sharing Clay’s wonderful insights.
Thanks CANN for getting this message out in regard to bullying. It has always been a problem but is getting much worse. Loved reading Clay Aiken’s insight on the topic. Such wise words. Let’s hope parents and teachers take this problem seriously and help those who are bullied and are bullying.
Thank you for the article!
WOW………this is an amazing article. THank you Musicfan for all your hard work. This is an issue that all ages must deal with. Clay Aiken’s advise is very wise. It works, but it is hard to do. If one can ignore, it WILL make the bullies go away. OR and the least, you won’t be affected by them. Bullies are such sad pitiful people.
Awesome article on bullying. I always marvel at how Clay can ignore all the bullshit that is thrown his way. He ignores and takes care of what is REALLY important in life. Smart man.
This was a great article and very timely. It is too bad that this has to be addressed but it is an issue children have to deal with everyday. I was glad that Clay answered that question given that he had such a problem with as he was growing up and has some great advise to give on the matter. Thanks so much for posting it this information.
Thank you for all of your articles, this one especially. Clay’s answer to bullying is wonderful and so is your article. I’m so impressed!!
I just love CANN!! Thank you again.
CANN and Clay — you’ve hit a GRAND SLAM with this subject.
As difficult as it is to ignore a bully, it is THE VERY THING that eventually drives them off.
Clay has such infinite wisdom, and his ability to articulate it just knocks me out.
Thank you, Clay, for taking the time to respond to this question so carefully and compassionately.
Thank you, CANN/musicfan, for bringing the subject to the forefront.