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HOW DO YOU STOP A BULLY?
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. When you are a kid, especially a teenager, anything that makes you different can potentially make you a target for bullying. Having a brain tumor makes you different in so many ways. While some peers rally around their classmate during treatment and provide unconditional and genuine support, many don’t. After treatment is over ,they do not understand why you did not return to the person they knew before. The bullying can become worse.
This summer, in working with the teens at our Heads Up Conference at Camp Mak-a-Dream, we had several discussions about bullying. What most of the teens talked about was the fact that bullying is not the old-fashioned picture we may get of someone getting beat up on the playground. It is the repeated words which tear at self-esteem, make you doubt your own intelligence, your ability to accomplish things and attractiveness. It’s people making fun of things which are now out of your control. For many survivors, it means struggling to get the grades which once came easy, giving up the sports which were how they indentified themselves and finding ways to disguise scars or other changes in your appearance.
The questions we came up with were-How do you get people to stop and get to know you? How do you protect yourself without isolating yourself completely? What do you say when someone makes fun of you? We came up with some ideas, but would love to hear what you think.