KATIE'S BLOG: Blowing out someone else’s candle

Last week I was interviewed by a journalist for a womans magazine about what the last 50 years of life have taught me. She also asked me what my one pet hate was.  That was an easy one to answer, quite simply I replied – BULLYING.

I went on to talk about my own experience of being bullied at school and how the words of the 11 year old child who told me I was ‘fat, ugly and stupid’ had stayed with me throughout my life.

How I went for years believing that to be the truth.

That I ignored the thousands of other messages from friends and family who would tell me otherwise.

How it’s taken me until only recently to show myself some compassion, to accept that those words were a reflection of her self worth, not of mine.

But I’m so glad I didn’t grow up in this social media world that our kids are living in now, as frankly I don’t think I could’ve coped. These days it's even easier to be bullied because it can all be done online, hidden behind a screen and often anonymously.

In fact I was woken up in the middle of the night quite recently, to find out that one of my kids had become a victim of online bullying and I have to say it brought back some very bad memories and left me shaking in anger all day.

Thankfully when I get like this, I’m grateful to be able to turn to my de-stressing vice – the trusty laptop, where I can offload my anger onto a screen.

As a mum of four, I know the parental challenges we face day in day out , because with kids' screen time increasing, it's hard to know what they are getting up to and who they may be hurting.

But I also know that it is our job to protect our kids, to stand up for them, and teach them how to respond to these situations and help to build up their resilience too.

We need to teach kids to be safe and sensible on line and to realise the harm that their words or images could cause to another child's mental health, not just at the time, but possibly for many years to come.

So the message I gave to my child this week and in fact the message I would give to ALL victims of bullying is this:

When people say bad things about you, it’s usually because they are insecure about themselves.

Next time someone does, or says, something unkind remember it has NOTHING to do with you and EVERYTHING to do with them.

I also told my child that when someone makes you feel bad about yourself, its usually a sign that they are unhappy in their own lives or perhaps are just jealous of you.

But they need to know that putting people down does not make them a powerful or strong person, it makes them a bully and a coward.

"Blowing out someone else’s candle, doesn’t make yours shine any brighter".

If  your child has been a victim of bullying, please don't stay silent.  

You can report it to the school and/or to the police and there are lots of amazing helplines and resources out there too, that can help both with support and with building resilience: 




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