I’m sorry that people are so jealous of me, but I can’t help it that I’m so popular! Suzy Swan, the mention of that name still wants to make me gag. Entering freshman year in high school is hard enough without the likes of Suzy circling around you like a vulture. Being in the awkward teenager years, having an acne scarred face, flat chest and buck teeth made it just a little easier for her to find her prey.
Every day Suzy would make cruel comments about my anatomy, calling me Mr. Ed. Every time I smiled was pure torture and so was paying to fix my buck teeth years later. Thanks, Suzy. Of course, Suzy was physically perfect in every way, flawless clear skin, shapely curves, head cheerleader rah, rah.
I didn’t hang with the cliques who were the popular kids or the ‘in crowd.’ I had a few friends but mostly kept to myself, spending a lot of time in the library feeling excluded, targeted, ostracized and scared. After spending way too much time in the library trying to dodge Suzy, my guidance counselor Mrs. Hurley called me into her office. The advice she gave me that day finally stopped Suzy’s incessant bullying and has stayed with me all these years waiting to be put to good use again. Now is that time, you see it’s my daughter who needs Mrs. Hurley’s advice because she has her own Suzy to deal with.
- If a bully can sense you’re weak or scared, she’ll go after that. Stand up for yourself, hold your ground and take control of the situation. Convey self-confidence by walking confidently, with your head up, keeping direct eye contact. Not letting yourself be taken advantage will give you self-esteem and you’ll gain respect from your peers.
- Stand up for yourself but always avoid arguing with the bully. They want a reaction so don’t give them one.
- Get involved in an activity outside your school environment and make new friends but don’t get isolated. Remember to include your school friends in your outside activities and continue to invite them over to your house to hang out.
- If you can’t stop the bullying at an early stage using your own terms and feel you need someone to intervene on your behalf, find a Mrs. Hurley – a teacher, guidance counselor or the principal. It’s essential that your child trusts you, and continues to confide in you so don’t go to the school to report the bullying without your daughter’s knowledge. Reporting an incident is not the same as tattling on someone.
With today’s technology, it’s hard to dodge a bully. You can’t hide in the library anymore. Suzy will find you on the internet, on social media websites, email, instant messaging, text messaging and by cell phone.
Let your daughter know not to respond to the mean, vulgar or threatening emails. Save them and have her show them to you immediately. Do not share any of her online passwords with anyone. If the cyber bully is anonymous, contact your Internet Service Provider to see if they can be tracked. Contact the bully’s parents and show them the harassing emails and ask them to make sure the cyber bullying stops otherwise you will have to take action.
With support of parents, friends and school officials, hopefully we can stop all the Suzy’s from cyber bullying ever again.