I am the mother of a severely bullied child my daughter was resilient in the early days of the bullying which started at the beginning of year 7 in her new secondary school. Despite reaching out for support, set boundaries with her aggressor, built other relationships and asked peers to stand by her. The aggressor was a skilled manipulator, who found ways to cut my daughter off from the support of her peers. She used charm, lies, taunts and put downs to win others away and cast my daughter in an unpopular light. She was careful to carry out her attacks out of sight of teachers. I got as much evidence as I could from screen shots, documenting incidents relevant to us and other complaints I had heard about the same girl from other students and parents.
In ‘getting away with it’ – the bullying escalated and continued over a long period of time, eventually my daughter had no genuine friends, just pseudo ones who would only acknowledge her when the main aggressor was not around or use their connection with my daughter for the purpose of taking information back to her. My daughter’s confidence and resilience eroded to the point where she wanted to die. She had no trust in her peers, her educators or even me because my efforts had not been successful in helping her.
Even though we have been through hell the last few years, we are the lucky ones – my child did not take her own life though at her darkest point she considered it, she certainly felt that she wanted to die. I experienced a feeling of being bullied alongside my child and recovery has been slow but sure. I reached out to support agencies, Red Balloon and Kidscape who do understand the devastating effects bullying can have on children and their families and to Alison Fox Counselling service, and to youth counsellors for my daughter. Their combined support helped me to keep my head above water enough to keep supporting my daughter.