Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Back off bully

Posted October 21, 2011

“Weird, ugly, fat,” the girl said to me, describing the words her classmates had called her. “People would always talk about me behind my back, make snide remarks.”

My heart broke as this eighth grader who attends middle school in Wake County told me about the bullying she endured from second through fourth grade. She didn’t tell anyone — not her parents, not her teachers — because she was afraid their involvement would make it even worse.

“It hurt my feelings. It’s not fun to be called names or get hit in the head like I did,” said a seventh grader who also attends middle school in Wake County. Unlike the female student I spoke to, he did seek help. He talked to his parents who in turn spoke to the teacher and administrators at the school. The bullying has now stopped.

“Parents and teachers can help solve the problem,” he told me.

On Sunday, Peaceful Schools North Carolina will host its annual “Back Off Bully: Be Bold” concert at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to entertainment, families will learn about bullying — how to prevent it, and how to stop it. Proceeds from the event will support anti-bullying programs in local schools.

Dawn Bates is on the board that organizes the event. She is also a local middle school administrator and teacher.

“You want to grow and move forward in a positive direction,” Bates said of her philosophy which involves intervention from parents and the school in bullying situations. “It’s not about punishment.”

“It does require cooperation between home and school,” Bates said. “Students should be advocates for themselves and their safety.”

Organizers hope the conference will give parents and students the tools to help prevent bullying — to be “proactive instead of reactive,” Bates said.

The eighth grader we interviewed is now in a much better place in her life. She is in a different school and has found a “nice group of friends.” She regrets not telling her parents about the bullying years ago when she suffered in silence and said now she would reach out for help, and encourages other students to do so as well.

“That’s was one thing I regretted, not telling my parents,” she said to me. “I would suggest they stand up for themselves. Find a group of friends who are nice and wouldn’t do this. Talk to your parents or a school counselor.”

My spirits lifted as I heard the confidence in this young woman’s voice. She had come through it with wisdom, and a desire to help others in her situation. Let’s all help prevent it from happening to other children.

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. You can usually find her here on Mondays.


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  • debums10 Oct 22, 2011

    I was bullyied as a child & teen. The awful phrases that were thrown at me still replay in my self talk (I am 44 years old). I had teachers who not only allowed the bullying, but even viewed me as a trouble maker when I attempted to defend myself in any way. I didn't tell my parents until I was older & the child in me was no longer afraid of the reprocussions. This bullying affected my self esteem and contributed to insecurities that have plagued me for life. AT my 10 year high school reunion, I spent the majority of the night avoiding this bully because I was still intimidated by her.I accidentally bumped into her at one point, & it was a great thing. She essentially apologized to me at that night. When she spoke kind words and admitted her treatment of me, I was amazed & relieved. If you have bullied others in your life, it's not too late to apologize and help the recipient of your bullying put some of their negative thoughts to bed, and make new emotional strides in their life.

  • howdiditgettothis Oct 21, 2011

    My 8 year old experienced bullying this past school year. Even worse, it was not only a classmate (new to the school) but a (new) neighbor, as well.

    I would NEVER have imagined repeated & ongoing BULLYING amongst 7 year olds..........The verbal, relational & emotional bullying took it's toll on my child. Thank God I frequently am able to volunteer at their school and witnessed several exchanges, as well as listening to my child.

    I spoke with the parent ("girls will be girls"), as well as the teacher (your child doesn't want to "share" friends)......

    My bright child went from loving school to hating it, doing poorly academically, ping pong emotions, anxiety, insomnia, and poor self esteem.

    I've done a tremendous amount of research, reading, as well as our family has had many discussions since then.

    Educate yourself, and your children about the qualities of REAL friends, and what your child can do to protect him/her self.

    7 years old. Kids can be sooooooo cruel.