For the last week, I have been trying to put my thoughts together to write an article on bullying. As a fan of Clay Aiken, I have all been more involved and touched by this difficult topic. Last night, I finally remembered that Clay Aiken wrote the most wonderful and touching information about bullying and the consequences.
Over a year ago, I took that information and wrote an article about the topic of bullies. I am bringing this back today…..Clay’s words are too important to forget.
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.