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Who cares if you’re hurting?

18 November 2014

This week, commencing Monday 17 November, is Anti-bullying week. Almost 45,000 children talked to ChildLine about bullying last year. One parent working with one of our HeadStart projects shares her story. Names have been withheld to protect confidentiality.

lone young woman with lap top in her bedroomOur daughter was a happy, sociable and outgoing girl, but all that just seemed to stop overnight when at 11 years old, she started secondary school and the bullying started. She suddenly became moody and argumentative and every time I asked her what was wrong she just kept snapping at me and saying ‘nothing’. When she got in from school she would shut herself away in her bedroom not talking to anyone – it was so stressful, especially for our other daughter who just wanted to play with her big sister.

She was getting more and more withdrawn and I was getting really worried so in the end I went through her mobile phone. I was completely and utterly shocked and distraught at the abusive texts she had been getting from her so called ‘friends’ at school.

We were so angry and hurt that this was happening to her. We felt so guilty that she had been going through all this and we hadn’t noticed and that she hadn’t felt she could come to us for help.

We also later found out she had been cutting herself because of the bullying. I just couldn’t believe it. I kept crying all the time; I felt so helpless and distraught. I just didn’t know what had hit us or how to deal with it all.

Beat bullying posterWhen we found out about the bullying we went straight to the school but they put it down to it ‘just being girls’. The doctor didn’t help much either and we just felt bewildered and let down.

As the situation continued to get worse we felt there was no other option but for our daughter to move school. She didn’t want to go at first, she was going mad, but we didn’t know what else to do, we couldn’t let things carry on.

Thankfully our daughter seems to be happy at her new school but we would have liked more support both for our daughter to know how to deal with the bullying, and for us to know how best to help her. I still have my fingers crossed.

HeadStart aims to build the resilience of young people to help them cope better with difficult circumstances in their lives.  One of these ways is to provide more support for victims of bullying and their families.

To find out more visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/headstart and follow @BiglfYoungLives #HeadStartMatters

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