When you are the victim of bullying, you want people to care about you. You want them to understand how you feel but you behave in the exact opposite way. You pretend you don’t care to protect yourself. You put up a front, isolate yourself and sink further into despair. You believe teachers don’t care and you believe parents don’t care.
What gets in the way of caring? As a mother who has witnessed the impact of bullying on children, here are my guesses why children change their behaviour…
1. Fear that teachers/parents will utter one more disparaging remark about them in front of the other students/siblings.
2. Feeling stupid because they don’t want to be feeling like this but they can’t help it.
3. Feeling frustrated because they feel silenced by bullying.
3. Shame because no matter how much effort they’ve put in, they can’t break the cycle of bullying by themselves.
5. Worry that their resilience is at breaking point and being terrified of what will happen to them if they can’t cope.
6. Feeling worthless because they can see that other students/siblings around them are getting better marks or making progress.
7. Guilt that they are upsetting their teachers/parents and feeling that they are a burden.
Dear Teacher/Parent, please care! Please look beyond the puzzling behaviour that you, as a teacher or as a parent are seeing and realise that it is an ingenious front. Please look at the pain this child is in and see what “I don’t care that you don’t care” looks like. Please empower yourself to care by seeking advice, which will help you realise what really matters here, their mental health.
Have you/your child had similar feelings because of bullying?
Mindfully Marie xx