Have you ever been bullied? Maybe we all have. I only remember one incident in high school. That was fifty years ago, but I still remember it. Bullying stays with you. It is not easily forgotten or forgiven. With all of our technology, one doesn’t even have to be in the same space with the bully. Cyber-bullying is a big thing. That is quite different from a kid demanding your lunch money or somebody calling you weirdo. Teens have taken their own lives because of cyber-bullying!
October was National Bullying Prevention Month. Jamestown Library has several books that may help you to help your child or teen cope with the problem.
How to Beat Verbal Bullying was written by Liz Sonneborn. She examines verbal bullying and describes specific steps victims can take to avoid it. She explores how people become victims or bullies. She suggests measures for handling and overcoming problem situations, including those for bystanders.
Author Carrie Goldman wrote Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know about Ending the Cycle of Fear. The author’s daughter Katie was the victim of bullying because she looked different; she wore glasses. Because she was adopted. Because she liked Star Wars and had a Star Wars water bottle. The child was in first grade when this began. When her mother blogged about the situation, it went viral. NASA and many of the Star Wars actors sent notes of support. People who had had similar experiences as children also supported Katie. The author contends that girls who like “boy” things are more easily accepted than are boys who like “girl” things. That chapter is especially interesting.
To help your victim or bully child, try reading some picture books as a discussion starter. The very popular Llama, Llama series written by Anna Dewdney, tells a rhyming story of a little Lama Llama and the Bully Goat. The little llama solves the problem by speaking up. This story can begin a discussion.
Juvenile fiction and young adult books often have the bully theme. In many of the books, the main character finds a way to turn the tables on the bullies. Patricia Polacco wrote Bully, a story about sixth graders, both new to their school, and how they stood up for each other when a clique began to bully them online. How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill and Just My Rotten Luck are both written by author James Patterson. Both have a strong male main character and a satisfying conclusion.
Not all bully books end that way. Try Walton’s Cracked, a story about a sixteen year old boy who is tormented at school and criticized at home. After a suicide attempt, he wakes up in a psychiatric hospital, with the bully as his roommate. Keep Holding On by Susanne Coasanti is another teen book dealing with bullying and suicide.
Our Saturday movie is Beauty and the Beast, a definite case of bullying because of appearance. View it with us at 10:15 in the auditorium.