High School was a hard time for me. Really hard. For two years I was the target of a discreet but relentless bullying campaign.
I lost almost every friend I had, and in a class of only 85, there weren't many places to turn. As a parent, it devastates me to think of my kids experiencing the same senseless pain and isolation.
I don’t like to talk about my bullying experience because it still hurts. But I can talk about its long-term effects and what we can do to help prevent it from happening to our kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews.
Bullying can have a lasting effect
Bullying in a child's formative years can be acutely detrimental to his or her long-term emotional development.
Childhood is a time when we start to develop our sense of identity. It's a time when we're first categorized into groups - athlete, mathlete, musician, etc. But when we're not accepted into these groups, it stunts the development of our self-worth at a time when it should be flourishing.
Fortunately, life provides opportunities for a clean slate - college, career, parenthood - but we carry with us the emotional scars from our youth.
While I can't honestly say that I've been able to fully develop my self-confidence (not by a long shot), my experience has instilled in me a keen sense of character. And once you're in my inner circle, I don't hold back. I cherish my friendships, and each of my friends knows that I love them.
Now, as a parent, it's my job to teach my kids the same kindness and inclusiveness that could've put my experience back on track.
Is your child being bullied? How do you know?
In the United States, nearly 1 out of every 3 students aged 12 to 18 reports being bullied, and 9 out of 10 never tell an adult (source).
School Counselor, Ashley Rutman, explained it to us this way:
"In any group of three, one student is the target, one is the aggressor, and one is a bystander."
Which of these is your child? How do you know?
While bullying behavior is not a new phenomenon, the tools available to a bully for carrying out their aggression are. With the advent of cyberbullying, kids carry their bullies with them in their pockets, leaving them with no place to retreat from attacks.
Every parent needs to see this video from Norton Security:
Bullying is not a rite of passage. It's an epidemic.
Creating bully-free schools where all students are included requires proactive intervention by the entire school system - teachers, students, and parents.
Let's End The Cycle
In the U.S. alone, 60,000 students are bullied every day. Thousands more stay home because of the threats and shaming that they receive online.
Making matters worse, in this era of relentless financial cuts, schools are often unable to fund anti-bullying programs to make school a safe place to learn.
That's why we help fund bully-prevention programs that promote kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.
When you make a purchase from Zuma Blu, you empower us to make the following charitable contributions:
- Zuma Blu donates 10% of annual profits to bully prevention charities
- 50% to 100% of profits from Flash Sales go to charity
- 100% of net proceeds from our inaugural charity bike ride in September will go to charity
- Join our just-for-fun clubs on Strava (Bike | Walk/Run) and we'll match your miles for dollars (10:1)
Join us, and together we can help make schools an inclusive community for our kids.
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