I was bullied in high school. I was 13 years old. I had no-one to speak to. I felt alone. I was desperate.
Recently the tragic news of Asad Khan’s suicide has hit the headlines. Asad was an 11 year old boy who had just started high school in Bradford and was being bullied. He died on Wednesday 28th September 2016. A life that had barely yet begun ended so disturbingly with a hanging.
This has had an impact on me for three major reasons:
- I can’t stand to see anyone in pain
- My daughter also recently started high school, aged 11
- I was bullied.
As I think about the devastation his family much be experiencing now in their time of loss I also reflect upon my own past.
High school should be a place where you start becoming the person you are destined to be; great adventures and new found responsibilities. No longer treated like a child, and yet not quite inundated with the mundane responsibilities of adulthood. A place to find yourself and form lasting friendships. Or so I thought.
High school was awful for me, it really sucked. All my friends had gone elsewhere and everyone already knew everyone else. I didn’t fit in. I’ll never know exactly why, but I became the victim of bullying and abuse. You can never quite prepare for these things, but when you already feel lost and are so young you can’t even articulate how you feel.
I wanted someone to talk to but I felt no-one would understand. My contribution in class became void. No-one asked why. I tried everything to get out of going to school like coming up with elaborate schemes to pretend I was sick from Saturday; even if it meant missing TV, just so I could take a few days off school. It never worked though; I was always told I would have to go to school. No-one asked why.
The truth is many parents are so busy with the day to day running of their lives that they don’t always have the mental space to remember to check in on their kids. We assume as they get older they can fend for themselves. Throw in other children in to the mix and you can see how easy it is to get distracted.
We need to give our children time. We need to keep updating our knowledge about the problems our children could face. It’s detrimental to assume it will never happen to your child.
Below is a list of 5 useful websites that tackle the issue of bullying. What’s especially great is each one offers something different. Sometimes it helps having them there in front of your face.
Let’s end bullying once and for all.
https://www.kidpower.org/library/article/prevent-bullying/ – this website empowers children to take control of their situation themselves.
https://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/warning-signs/ – warning signs to look out for displaying whether your child is being bullied or is the bully. Also looking at why children don’t ask for help.
https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/bullying-and-cyberbullying/signs-symptoms-effects/ – looking not just at physical bullying but also cyberbullying and how to keep children safe online.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/parents/bullying/ – offers advice on how to approach teachers/head teachers at school regarding a case of bullying.
https://www.inpatientdrugrehab.org/cyberbullying-substance-abuse/– Dr. Keenan has created this guide on How to Deal with Cyberbullying & Substance Abuse.