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Bullying. Jodee Blanco. Somebody does understand.
     
 
 
                 Survival Tips for Students

                 Survival Tips for Parents

                 Survival Tips for Educators

                 Tips for Adult Survivors

                 Advice Excerpted from
                 Please Stop Laughing
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SURVIVAL TIPS FOR VICTIMS OF BULLYING AND PEER ABUSE

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you and I probably have a whole lot in common. Is school a living hell for you like it was for me? Do you feel like no matter what you do or how hard you try, you just never fit in? Do the popular kids tease and laugh at you? Do you dread riding the school bus because you know the moment you step inside, someone is going to blow a spitball in your hair, or call you mean names before you even sit down? Do you find yourself wanting the cool kids to leave you alone, yet secretly longing for their friendship and acceptance?

I know exactly what you’re going through. From 5th grade through senior year of high school, I was tormented at school too, just for being different. I tried really hard to fit in, but I couldn’t do the things you have to do to be considered cool. I didn’t want to play nasty jokes on my teachers, smoke in the bathroom, or make fun of the chubby girl with glasses. And if I saw someone being picked on, I stood up for them. Great qualities to have when you’re an adult. Not so great when you’re a kid.

I was so lonely when I was in school, every morning I would pray to God to make me sick so that I could be absent. In my national best selling memoir PLEASE STOP LAUGHING AT ME…, I share the details of what I went through and how I survived. If you’d like to read more about the book, you can download a chapter from this website.


Now, let’s talk about your current situation at school and what we can do about it.

Realize There’s Nothing Wrong With You
It’s all the things that are right about you that are making you stick out from the crowd. All my life, I thought there was something dreadfully wrong with me that all my classmates would hate me so. Even when I became an adult, deep inside I carried that negative self-image. Then, on the eve of my 20th high school reunion, I asked some of the popular kids who had abused me back in school why they didn’t like me. You know what they said? They told me they never hated me at all, but that they just didn’t know how to interact with me because I was so grown-up for my age—the product of being an only child I guess. All that time I thought it was me, that I was defective. Now I know that isn’t true. And you need to know it too. If you don’t ever remember anything from our cyber visit together, please, please remember this—there is NOTHING wrong with you. There never has been.

React in the moment, not later
The time to speak up and defend yourself is in the moment. Don’t wait until later to speak your mind or plot revenge. Stand up and look the bully right in the eye. Tell him to stop and leave you alone. He’ll get the message, it may not be right away, but he’ll get it.

Reach Out To A Parent or Other Caring Adult For Help
Don’t go through this alone! When I was getting bullied, I tried to hide it from my parents because I was so ashamed. Eventually, I confided in them and it was the best thing I could have done. From that moment on, they were there for me. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to one of your parents, at least confide in another caring adult such as a grandparent, aunt or uncle.

Start a journal
One of the things that really got me through my school years was keeping a journal. I was able to laugh and cry in the privacy of my own room. It’s interesting now to look back on where I was, and how far I’ve come. Be sure that your journal is not an online journal that is public – keep it private.

Alternative social outlets
What do you like to do? Or what have you always wanted to learn how to do, but never took the time or put the effort into? Find an outlet where you can make friends outside of school, whether it be the YMCA, community theater, local parks and recreation classes – you know where I’m going with this. Believe it or not, one of the things that got me through my tough times was my Greek lessons, and being part of the local theater group, and my writing. The point is, if you become good at something, and have friends outside of school you will automatically become more confident. That confidence will go a long way to discourage the bully because it is harder to pick on a confident person. In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret - bullying is actually a weakness of character, confidence is strength of character.

Don’t be afraid of professional help
If your parents want you to see a psychologist or counselor, ask if they would attend the first few sessions with you—explain that it will make you more comfortable because you’ll feel like you’re dealing with the circumstance as a family and not “you as the problem.” One tip – be honest with everyone, including yourself, and you will find the experience very worthwhile.

Contact me
I would welcome the opportunity to come and speak at your school to you and your peers, the teachers, and the parents. Please show this site, or my book to your teacher and principal. Or send your school contact information to my office, and we’ll get in touch with the principal. Send your message to info@jodeeblanco.com.

If the situation is really bad, and you feel that you can’t speak up about what you are experiencing or witnessing, please send an email to info@jodeeblanco.com.

Let me know what you’re seeing. Be sure that you only send the facts, not rumors. Include your school address, web address, phone number, and the name of your principal.

I invite and encourage your letters and essays. I am collecting them, and there is a possibility that I may use yours in my next book. Please be honest and unafraid to tell me how you are dealing with the whole issue of bullying. You may be the bully, the target, the bystander, or even a parent, simply email your letter to me at Jodee@jodeeblanco.com, or mail it to:

The Jodee Blanco Group, Inc.
I look forward to hearing from you. Phone: 708-870-8800

As you grow older, you will notice that there is usually bullying of some form happening around you. It may be a teacher, an in-law, a boss, a co-worker. How you deal with the issue now will help you recognize and hopefully stop incidences of bullying in the future. Your pain will turn into purpose, I promise you.

And remember, you are never, ever alone. I'm here. I care. And I survived.
So will you.

Jodee



*Please Note. Jodee Blanco is not a licensed therapist. The ideas and opinions reflected in this material are a direct result of her personal experience as a survivor, and are provided for information purposes only. However, be assured that the information has been reviewed by a nationally regarded child psychologist. We strongly recommend that you consult a licensed therapist if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your situation.

To order reprints, please contact jodee@jodeeblanco.com.