October is Anti-bullying Awareness Month.

It seems almost impossible that for all the years that I remember, there have been bullies.  For all the great advice that has been levied to eradicate it, it still exists.  I am of the mind that it will always be present.  It is through my books, Buford the Bully, Buford Finds a Home and the Parent Teacher Guide to Bullying that I offer understanding and strategies for children so they don’t fall prey.  Children have a way of remembering incidents throughout their lives that have severely affected them in some way–bullying being one of them.  One of the most interesting questions that I’ve been asked is,  “How do you tell the difference between bullying and teasing?”  To answer this, I would say that teasing irritates, and bullying hurts to the core.  It makes you question who you are and what you should be doing.  It so defines your self-esteem and self-worth that it gives you a sense of hopelessness with more than serious repercussions.  The deaths that have come about from cyber-bullying, a confident well-versed person would ask themselves why?  Why didn’t they fight back?  Why didn’t they tell someone?—But they couldn’t.  It would prove to be further embarrassing and at time, it seems there is only one solution–to take yourself out of the equation.  After I wrote Buford the Bully and taught school for several years, I realized that one thing all professionals seem to do and be relatively happy with is to drive the bully out—out of the classroom, out of the school–to bring peace to those areas.  But what then of the bully?  What has he or she learned except to become more clever?  The enormous piece that is missing here is to deal with his or her emptiness and find a solution.  Buford’s solution came in an unusual way–forgiveness.  For further strategies, read the parent teacher guide on bullying.

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