My goal as a retired teacher has been to write books that help young people and their parents with those informative years that are so crucial. I just read an article about young people who lived just outside of London where a teacher stepped in and probably saved a life.
You may have a child, a grandchild, a niece or nephew that is going through the same hell that this person put another young person through when they were young. Yes, bullying comes in many forms. The old adage that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is certainly not true.
In the case of this bullied teen, it is wonderful that she was able to rise above it and have a productive life. So many other young people do not and feel as the girl describes in the article below. Our prayer for all young people and older people who need mental emotional health screening and help is that they will speak out and receive the help that they deserve. They need to know it is not shameful to share their feelings.
Sometimes these difficulties surface later in life. The people closest to this person that they love are bewildered to what really happened to make such drastic changes in him or her. I’m certain that everyone who has lost a child that somehow went down this slippery slope will certainly agree that there is a great need in our society today worldwide.
Charlotte Lait wrote the article below. It is shared here in its entirety. This article is so brutally honest. I challenge you to read it in its entirety. At the end is a video about young people and mental health. Since the article was written about young people growing up in England, we share with you the thoughts of a very famous person who speaks of the need for better mental health. We certainly need this same emphasis here in the U.S. before our children are lost to a darkness that is difficult to change.
“Fatty, fatty, bom, bom!” I screamed, and the other 12-year-old girls around me laughed hysterically. We pointed, laughed some more, shouted out similar chants, as we ran around our school’s racing track. There were five of us, and our energy was focused on one girl, running alone, tears welling up and nobody to help her. She was our victim; she was no match for the collective energy of a group of self-appointed “cool girls.” We let the girl overtake us on the track while we ripped her apart in private conversation.
“Her boobs look so weird, she can’t even run with them.”
“She got her period so young, there must be something wrong with her.”
As the girl continued running, boys from our grade walked by on their way to soccer practice. Perfect timing for us, as we watched them shame her body too, echoing our sentiment, validating that we had a right to our behavior. The girl, named Felicity, nickname Flick, continued running.
A lot of people assume that when kids are mean, they don’t really know what they’re doing; that they’re harmless, really. I knew exactly what I was doing, and I knew how it would affect Flick, because I’d been a victim of it for years.
From when I was seven to 13, I had no friends. None, absolutely none. And I wasn’t just left alone to quietly get on with life; kids made fun of me constantly. I had headgear (followed by all other kinds of lisp-inducing braces), horrendous granny-floral glasses and, best of all, warts. A ton of warts on my hands and arms.
Not only was I visually destined to be an elementary school outcast, but pretty soon my personality changed to fit the profile, too. I wouldn’t understand for many years later that people, particularly kids, absorb the identities they are given by others.
I subconsciously developed nervous tics, including counting everything I did in eights, right down to the pieces of toilet paper I used. I obsessively repeated whatever people said to me under my breath, over and over again until someone else spoke to me and I’d change the sentence.
One afternoon, aged 10 in the girl’s locker room (a place designed for bad things to happen) I became so frustrated with the other girls sharing inside jokes I wasn’t a part of, and so paranoid they were talking about me, I slammed the hairbrush I was holding onto the floor. It terrified the girls, only making them more inclined to shout “freak.”
It terrified me, because I felt like one.
So it was pretty great for me when Flick showed up in school. Finally, I wasn’t the biggest weirdo in town. I was pretty relieved everyone seemed to be bored with picking on me, and had moved on to something else.
In my school, tormenting others was the top social currency. I soon realized that not only did I need Flick to distract people from my own inadequacies, but if I joined in with everyone else, maybe I’d finally be accepted.
So there I was, chasing her around the running track, making her sob, breaking her down mentally, like there was no tomorrow. Like I didn’t know what that felt like.
The irony was, of course, I didn’t really like the cool kids. I had nothing in common with them, and they with me. The person I liked the most, if I was honest with myself, was this girl I made cry every day.
When we first met, at the school’s “Welcome Day” for new students, Flick seemed so comfortable in her own skin, so at peace with herself that she gave off a magnetic energy. She wore one of those Lizzie McGuire-esque rainbow tie dye tops, and pink jelly sandals (which I was obsessed with, and my parents never let me get). I’d never met anyone my age like that, and I so desperately hoped that she would overlook my shortcomings, and just like me.
I only stopped bullying Flick when a teacher forced me. The teacher was cool, young, and most of the preteen girls saw her as an older cousin. It made it all the more humiliating when we were made to apologize to Flick and reprimanded for our shameful behavior. Later, we discussed how we couldn’t believe Flick lied and said we were bullying her. She obviously wanted attention.
Too scared of punishment to go near Flick, the girls soon turned their cruelty onto me. I was so, very livid—hadn’t I proved myself to be just like them by now? What had all that effort been for?
Everything came to a head the summer before eighth grade when I was invited to a sleepover party with just a few of the girls. I picked out my clothes and PJs meticulously. Maybe I’d fool them into thinking I’d gotten cool over the summer.
That night, the girls were unrelenting. It became very clear that I was simply there because they weren’t allowed to watch TV past 9 p.m.
They took chocolate cake and wiped it over my face, and I let them. We played one game, I can’t remember the rules for it, but I ended up naked and they laughed at how I had no breasts. I was confused—hadn’t we laughed at Flick for having breasts? I took my things into a corner and slept backward in my sleeping bag so the hood would cover my face and they wouldn’t be able to draw things on me while I slept. They put my hand in a bowl of hot water so I wet myself.
When my mother drove me home the next day, I cried hysterically and wouldn’t tell her what happened. When school started the next week, it was very clear to the class that I’d been demoted.
It didn’t take long for Flick to offer to be my friend. She’d gotten herself some of her own by that point — other girls who’d been bullied, they were sort of forming a club — and they took me in. There were no questions, no conditions; I wasn’t reverted to the bottom of a food chain because with them there wasn’t one.
It turned out that not only did Flick and I have a lot in common, we were pretty normal teenage girls; boy-obsessed, emotional, big on daydreaming. We shared secrets, we made each other scrapbooks.
Once we took the train from our suburb into London by ourselves, without permission, and way too young. As soon as we frolicked out of the station, I remembered my mom would be picking me up in half an hour from her house, so we frolicked right back onto the train. I thought we were the coolest girls in the world.
Years later and eating dinner at Flick’s house, her kid sister burst out, “Didn’t you used to bully Flick?”
As I sat, frozen in shame, Flick replied, “Yeah… how embarrassing for her!” She winked at me, a familiar expression. That night, I gave her a long-overdue apology.
“When it happened to me, I wanted to die sometimes,” I said.
“Yeah,” she replied. “I know what you mean.”
Fast-forward to today, and my best friend is essentially winning at life. She graduated from the University of Cambridge (yes, that is Cambridge) after a year of volunteering in Uganda. She survived a motorcycle crashing into her in Kampala and now calls it a “funny story.” She was elected into a full-time job as the President of Cambridge’s Student’s Union. She got her nose pierced. She still loves rainbow-colored anything. She now works with a teenage girl with Asperger’s Syndrome as her classroom aid.
And last summer, I walked down the aisle as her maid of honor, and watched her marry a loving man who is her equal in kindness and strength.
I had boyfriends in school but I call Flick my “first love” because she was the first person in my life who chose to love me. I wasn’t her family; I was a girl who had made her life hell for a long time. Our lasting friendship continues to teach me the power women gain when we forgive and lift each other up.
In one of the scrapbooks Flick and my other first friends made me, I wrote a note in the back page to myself:
“These are the best friends ever, you are too lucky to have them.
Never take them for granted
Always treat them with respect
Love them for what they are — themselves.”
It appears that in Britain, even royalty is reaching out to the parents and children about mental health and the need to lower the stigma that is sometimes involved with seeking mental and emotional health. We at Boyer Writes commend you.
Books by N. W. Boyer to help young people with decision making , self-esteem and bullying.
February 18, 2015 | Categories: Books by Nancy W. Boyer, Boyer Writes, Family, Health, Important to know, Over-coming Life's Problems | Tags: bullying, Charlotte Lait, emotional health, HRH Duchess of Cambridge, hurtful words, mental health for young people | Comments Off on Mental Health….and bullying…the living hell
Often children (and teens) find it difficult to deal with their feelings when other children are unkind to them. If you are a child reading this, you know what I mean. If you are a parent who notices your child being unhappy or not wanting to go to school or other places where they are around children, you also know what I mean.
Sometimes it is just a few words that a bully will say or looks that they give. Other times it is something that they write (a note, text message, or email) that makes a young person believe that he/she is not liked or in some cases hated. It hurts! Before that hurt becomes too big to handle, a child needs to find a solution and support.
BETTY BIG EARS addresses this problem. Betty found out what to do. The purpose of this book is to help children know what is the best action in certain situations. It is for parents to help their children in solving their problems.
Children need to know how important it is to talk to parents, teachers or a trusted adult. BETTY BIG EARS has a set of questions to discuss at the end. You and your family may find it helpful.
My name is Nancy Boyer and I wrote this book because during my years as a public school teacher in Florida, I observed children who did not fit in or children who were humiliated by other children. Even though teachers try to deal with these situations, they are not everywhere and children find a way to avoid those in authority. Sometimes things happen on the way to or from school; on the playground, or in the bathrooms.
I believe it is the parent’s responsibility to talk to their children, especially when they seem upset. It is also important for parents to contact the teacher about any problems they are observing. Parents can teach a child how to tackle the problem and not let a bully ruin how they feel about themselves.
February 9, 2014 | Categories: Boyer Writes, Community, Family, Life's Difficulties, Nanny's Books for children, Over-coming Life's Problems | Tags: Amazon Books, Betty Big Ears, Boyer Writes, bullying, family, Kindle, parenting, problem solving, self esteem, self-worth | Comments Off on BETTY BIG EARS..a new children’s book on bullying and self-worth
BOYER WRITES STATS FOR 2013
At WordPress, we have the privilege of seeing our statistics at the end of each year. We are pleased to report the following BOYER WRITES stats for 2013:
- We were viewed in 2013 over 15,000 times in 134 countries.
- There were 138 views in one day on Jan 11, 2013
- Boyer Writes posted 102 new writings making a total of 375 since first beginning to write.
- The most popular writing by Boyer Writes was “Is the Art of Conversation going out or are we becoming idiots?” with a quote by Albert Einstein that may have hit a nerve: “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
(See this link: Our most viewed writing on THE ART OF CONVERSATION If you missed this one, you will want to take a look.)
Thank you, readers. We look forward to another year!
INTRODUCING NANNY BOOKS
Having seen the above writing on “human interaction” is one of importance. We, at Boyer Writes, has a goal for this New Year 2014. We want to see more involvement and conversation between parents and their children.
It will not be enough to sit in the same room and leave conversation out of daily living. Interaction within the family is a must. When a child has his/her head buried in a game or talking on a phone, communication with parents is extremely limited. It will never take the place of looking into a smile or the eyes of the ones we love. Recently I found a children’s book on Virtues such as honesty. These will be some areas that we’ll be writing about for parents and children to discuss.
The NANNY BOOKS will be a series of writings to accompany some small children’s books that I have written in the past. (My name is Nancy, but my grandchildren call me “Nanny”…thus the name.)
These small books will be for parents to read to..or with…their children as they relate to experiences in their own lives. They will be in print form and available on Kindle. For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a listing of books written so far:
Nanny’s Monster Book (shown on left) which helped children with fears.
- Nanny’s Bird Book Shares with the child pictures of nature they may have never seen up-close.
- Nanny’s Work Book This helps children understand that pulling their weight and doing chores is a good thing.
- Betty Big Ears is my most recent book. This deals with bullies who may say hurtful things to children and how one little girl named Betty found a solution to her problem. This one is now available for those who use Kindle. BETTY BIG EARS on Kindle
January 4, 2014 | Categories: ART, Boyer Writes, Family, Important to know, Interesting places or People, Nanny's Books for children, Over-coming Life's Problems | Tags: Albert Einstein, Art of Conversation, Boyer Writes, Boyer Writes stats, bullying, CHILDREN, children's books, human interaction, name calling, Nanny Books, parenting, self esteem | Comments Off on Boyer Writes Stats for 2013 and Introducing Nanny Books