Focus on Family: Bullied Kids Speak Out author Jodee Blanco

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Jodee Blanco

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Bullied Kids Speak Out: We Survived -- How You Can Too

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Information from Jodee:

The worst advice a parent or teacher can give a bullied child
To ignore the bully and walk away.  It encourages kids to be bystanders in their own lives and only gives the bullies permission to torture the victim more.

The biggest mistake kids make when dealing with a bully and how to avoid it
Listening to the clichés adults often give them, like ignore the bully and walk away, or trying to respond with a "clever comeback."  None of that stuff works.  There are two kinds of popular kids in a school--the "elite leader' is a member of the cool crowd who's kind and inclusive, and then there's the "elite tormentor."  Those are the mean members of the cool crowd who often use subtle forms of rejection and exclusion to control their victims.  They are the most damaging and prominent types of bullies in schools.  The worse mistake a teen can make when dealing with an "elite tormentor," is both giving in and changing who they are to fit in (it never works), ignoring them, or taking them on.  Instead you have to look them in the eye, and tell them to stop.  It's also a good idea to reach out to other kids who are being bullied by the same people and form a coalition.  Additionally turn to the "elite leaders," in the school for help and support.  You can reclaim your dignity but you have to be strong, centered, and straight up that you're not going to take the abuse anymore.

The biggest myth about bullying that most teens wish their parents understood
The tired old cliché about bullies, "they're just jealous," -- it's not the root cause of bullying, it can be a catalyst but it's not the cause, and when parents tell their kids that to try and make them feel better it is INFURIATING because every teen knows it isn't true.

What all school bullies have in common that they’ll never admit to
"I'm scared and don't know where to turn, I'm hurting, please don't punish me, help me."

The biggest mistake parents make that leads to more bullying related suicides
They immediately focus on making sure the bullies get punished instead of performing triage first on their child, the victim--the victim is dying of loneliness--the priority is to help your child find a new social outlet outside of school through a theater program, park district, community center, anyplace where they can make new friends with new faces in an organized regular activity--once you stop the bleeding that comes in the form of loneliness, THEN as a parent, focus on dealing with the bully.  And instead of insisting on punishing the bully, be curious, find out as much about the bully's back story as possible, because the more you learn about his/her circumstances, the more compassion you'll feel, and the more compassion you have for the bully, the quicker everyone's pain can be resolved.

The typical profile of the bullied child
The typical profile of the bullied child is what I call "the ancient child."  He or she is an old soul.  They're usually more socially, intellectually and verbally mature than their peers, and they exhibit a sensitivity and compassion far beyond their years.  They try to connect with others their own age, but it's as if there's an invisible wall.  What these "ancient children" wish their parents would understand is that they're tired of everyone bragging about how old they are for their age, they just want to be given permission to act like kids and be silly.