Most teens don’t want to tell, worry or burden their parents when they are bullied, so they keep it inside. You should tell your parents every time and any time you feel you are the victim of bullying. Just because you can “handle” the bullying situation, doesn’t mean you should have to. I know it may seem scary, but you have to tell an adult. If not a parent, then maybe a teacher you trust. How do you bring it up? Sometimes that can be the hardest part. Find a time when you have your parents’ full attention. Maybe this is while you are driving in the car with them, eating dinner, or taking a long walk. Think about what to say beforehand so when you tell them you won’t get too nervous and forget everything. If you aren’t sure how to start the conversation, say: “I need to tell you something that I’m nervous about and it’s important.” I guarantee your parents will pay close attention. It’s OK if you get upset while telling them. If you want to tell a teacher instead, that’s OK too. Maybe after school when the rest of your class is gone you can ask to speak with them. Again, practice what you want to say. If it helps to bring a friend along for support, that’s OK too.
I can’t stress this enough, don’t avoid the issue for too long. This can lead to you minimizing the severity of the situation and adapting to the poor treatment. Some teens build a defense mechanism around the issue to avoid it. They pretend that it isn’t actually happening. Does pretending really help? No. The bully will continue. Remember, avoiding any situation doesn’t help. Stand up for yourself when dealing with a bully. Protect yourself; demand that the bullying stop. Say something early on. Don’t “accept” it. That’s not a healthy way to cope!
Now if your friend is the one being bullied, what can you do? Well, a lot of things. You can tell your friend that you are there for him or her. If the bully isn’t violent, you can confront the bully together. Show the bully you aren’t taking it anymore. Or, maybe if your friend is just too scared by the bully, you can tell a teacher on his or her behalf. Some teens just don’t know what to do. Be a good friend and do something.
Bottom line— Tell a parent or tell a teacher, but don’t let it continue.
First there was #thighgap…now we have the #bellybuttonchallenge to look forward to.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen the “belly button challenge” all over social media. Apparently, it began in China, but has exploded online. So…what is the belly button challenge you ask?
Reach behind your back and around your waist and see if your hand can cover/touch your belly button. For the sake of this blog post, go ahead and try. Can’t do it? Well, then you are considered “too heavy” according to Chinese social media. But really, it could also mean that your arms are really muscular-right? When you come down to it… it’s actually a test of shoulder flexibility, and not fitness. (I learned that the shoulder has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body.) The belly button challenge has become a way for teens, mostly girls – to seek approval online with their body while shaming others. It also says a lot about China’s obsession (really everyone’s obsession) with being thin. Teens are snapping #selfies of them-self while doing the challenge and posting them online.
A successful belly button challenge attempt is met with praise, “likes” and affirmations that YOU are thin enough. If deemed thin enough, then you are accepted by the online “belly button” police.
And if you can’t do the challenge, there is a double standard. For a boy posting a photo of himself failing the challenge, he still receives “likes.” Many of those photos will show the boy desperately struggling to reach his belly button while making funny faces, contorting his body and laughing. However, for girls posting their failed attempts online for all the world to see, isn’t met with praise or “likes.” She is telling the world that she is unhealthy…. unworthy, and shameful. This can do a number on anyones body image and self-esteem.
So if you are a teen, don’t fall for this challenge or take it too seriously. Remember, it has nothing to do with health. It’s just another silly social media game to laugh about… and nothing more.
TEEN MONOLOGUE SERIES: A collection of true stories about real teens struggling
with tough issues surrounding self-esteem.
Stories about teens…for teens.
Maybe you know someone like Katie? She is dying to fit in. Literally. A bulimic freshman in high school, she’s drinking and hanging out with the mean girls. Maybe you know someone like her?
Or Cindy. A high school junior who acts like everything is always fine. Playing three sports, getting straight A’s, partying on the weekends, but struggling with depression, perfectionism and addiction.
Seventy-five percent of teenage girls with self-esteem issues (have reported) engaging in negative activities such as: smoking, drinking, bullying, cutting, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, and even suicide attempts. Story telling is a very powerful form of acceptance and self-healing.
Dates: August 9th, 2015
Location: Thick House Theatre in SF (Playwright Festival)
Time: 12pm & 2pm
For ticket information click here!