I knew from the time my little girl was one that she had the softest heart and a gentle soul. I knew her sensitive nature could leave her open to hurt down the road, but I never expected bullying.
By the time she was five years old and starting school I had high hopes of her being happy – she skipped into school a little nervous but, excited all the same.
However, once collection time came she told me she wouldn’t be going again, as a kid had kicked her in the yard. Though the child did get spoken to about it, the damage was done.
For days I dragged my little girl into school as she pushed me and pleaded with me to be left at home. In the worst times, she’d vomit all over the ground as she entered school – such was her anxiety.
The teacher often called me to return to school to collect her after she vomited in class – the first day I let her stay home but by the next time I had no choice but to drag her back. It was horrendous.
Slowly, she began to settle but she never really was wholeheartedly complacent. Teachers told me she was gentle, caring and a tremendous student but shy and nervous sometimes. I accepted the daughter I had and managed to understand her fears, but it took time.
I should have taken this as a sign that she may be bullied but I never did, and it was some years later when she was older that she began to act funny. She suffered night terrors when stressed and in her junior years this was normal but with older classes, I reckoned she should have been over it. She was subdued, tired and fearful but we had no idea why.
After much pleading, she finally admitted she was being bullied and she showed us her little basic phone that had several horrible texts on it from one kid – one that I knew too. I thought this was bad enough but no, my little girl was being subjected to being slapped and mocked in school too.
Her life was shattered, and it showed in her sad eyes. It never really hits you until you see it first-hand how devastating it is to have a child bullied but also to know you couldn’t protect them.
She was an absolute wreck after being tormented via texts – cyberbullying and had it not been for the evidence in a text we may never have got the schools or parents attention. I don’t blame the parents, nor do I blame the school and I have no idea why children act like this towards others, but it is wrong.
In the weeks that followed my daughter was devastated and it took ages for her to recover. Secondary school surprisingly heralded her new beginning and she has made great friends too. She hasn’t had a moment's trouble and I can’t imagine she would – she is so strong now. I think she had a time of it in Primary and built up a huge resistance. She is happy and confident now.
However, as parents, we need to ensure these things don’t happen and we can only do that by having that conversation with our kids. Honestly, we know our children well enough to assess their ability or lack of, to hurt others.
My other daughter is the total opposite of her sibling and has never had a problem at school. I’ve never expected her to be bullied but I make the time to teach her about kindness, caring and how to be nice to people so she will never be a bully.
I don’t want my child to be a bully and I don’t want my child to be bullied so let’s teach them about it and hope that we can get them through school and life without them being crippled by antagonising behaviour towards them.
Because gods know they have enough stress without bullying too.