Teen Bullying: A National Crisis

bully - sad teenI’m sure most of you have been aware of the recent media attention that has been geared towards bullying and its effects on youth, even causing some youth to take their own lives.  There has also been a rash of stories about youth taking their own lives because they were cyberbullied or bullied because they identify as LGBTQ.  

Everyday, millions of youth are bullied at school, in their neighborhoods or online.  We, as adults MUST take a stand and not let this happen.  If we just brush it under the carpet, then it will continue to destroy our youth. Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius posted a Youtube video directed to LGBTQ youth.   

Please Stop Laughing at Me

Several years ago I attended a seminar facilitated by a woman named Jodee Blanco.  She is now quite a famous publicist, but was horribly bullied as a kid and has since written a book entitled  Please Stop Laughing At Me…One Woman’s Inspirational StoryShe is a huge advocate of bullying prevention; she travels around the country sharing her story and advice with schools, parents, and youth leaders and has taken an active role in crisis intervention.  She was such a dynamic speaker and her story impacted me so much, that I went out and bought her book. 

Jodee truly has overcome great obstacles.  She was teased, threatened and  physically harmed by her peers throughout her school years.   The way she was treated affected her on such a deep level, that as she was entering the venue where her 20th High School reunion was held, she threw up on the way in.  Her story is impactful, because she has learned to love herself and now she can help others do the same with her outreach and understanding.  One of the take-home messages she taught me was that both the bully and the bullied are “bleeding on the inside.”  Both are hurting and both need help.

Some Common Misperception and Facts About Bullying include:
(List created by the Utah Parent Center)teen girls bullying

Misperception: Boys will be boys.

FACT:  The implication is that bullying is okay – it is natural to be physically or verbally aggressive.  However, research indicates aggression is a learned behavior, not a natural response.

Misperception:  Words will never hurt you.

FACT:  Studies have been shown even though words don’t leave bruises or broken bones, they may leave deep emotional scars that can have lifelong implications.  Children learn at a very early age that words can hurt other children.

Misperception: Telling a teacher about bullying is tattling.

FACT:  Children need to know the difference between tattling and telling.  The secrecy of bullying only serves to protect the bully and to perpetuate the behavior.

Bullying Prevention Resources:

Also, this site has some great tips on immediate bullying intervention .  According to Stop Bullying Now: 

If the situation is not handled appropriately, we could end up inadvertently promoting, rather than reducing bullying.

We all need to take a stand, open our mouths and stop bullying.  What are you doing to prevent bullying? 



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About kelly95r

I made the trek from the northwest to work with youth in Utah 8 years ago and have been loving it ever since. I oversee the Youth Services Afterschool Programs in the Granite School District. When I'm not working, you can catch me hiking, skiing, shopping, reading, camping and traveling.
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