Bullying gets a lot of airtime these days, and rightfully so. Bullying can have a severe impact on the mental health and well-being of your child, let alone the childhood happiness they deserve. Frighteningly, sometimes it even comes to the situation where a child doesn’t want to live anymore. An unbelievable and horrific thought for any parent!
One of my daughters got bullied at primary school recently. At first I tried to assess how much of this harassment she could solve herself. I believe it is important for my children to learn how to navigate these things, as they will come back later in life. However, when the verbal and physical harassment kept going and it started to impact her, I took action. I informed her teacher and formalized a complaint in a letter to the principle.
The school is on top of it now and the bully is being managed. I keep on top of it too, as the bully is still in her classroom. We discuss it openly at home and I’m positive we can manage it from here. The tip I would like to give is to formalise the bullying complaint, if you find yourself in this situation. So that the school has to log it and take action. This was exactly the tip I got from a mother who told me the story about her daughter who got bullied.
In the new book I’m working on; How I Beat My Bully, I let her daughter tell the story from her point of view. So the story is based on real life experiences from a young girl. At the time of the story, she was a third-grade student. It is her story with some of her advice on how she beat her bully.
There are lots of aspects to bullying and there are many different types – verbal, physical, emotional, social, and cyberbullying. By no means do we suggest this story solves being bullied in every situation.
What her mum and I want to provide, is a picture book that supports a conversation between adult and child about bullying. Telling a trusted person that you’re being bullied is one of the most important steps to take for a child in this situation. It is also important for caretakers and educators to tune into any changes in behaviour and body language children might display.
Finally, we want to convey the message that although the main character had a terrible time, she discovered her self-worth and came out as a stronger, more resilient and confident young girl.
I work with the fantastic Brazilian illustrator Juliane Engelhardt. We’re all very passionate about this project and hope it will resonate well with children, parents, care takers and teachers. For now the cover is almost done. We still have a lot of work to do, but I hope to publish it in 2019.
I’ll keep you posted in this blog and on my Facebook-page MyStrongMindJourney