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The other thing about bullying is this: no matter which side you're on, it feels awful. When I saw that boy with the icepack, I felt sick. Sad and scared and frustrated. How could my child do this, when I work so tirelessly to teach him to be compassionate and caring? I felt responsible, and desperate.
Everyone agrees that there is more bullying these days and that it could be handled better. However, no one is asking why the incidence of bullying has increased so markedly. People used to think that bullies act the way they do because they suffer from low self-esteem. The truth turned out to be exactly the opposite.
My daughter would come home sad everyday. She would cry every week. We would have pep talks regularly, but I could not mend her broken heart. I could not take back the words kids said to my child. Her loneliness haunted me. As a mother, I was watching a child dying on the inside. It was like watching a beautiful flower wilting in the cold.
When I discovered that my daughter was having a hard time adjusting to school a few years back, I did everything I could to make sure she understood that making friends was an easy task. If I learned something from my life, it's that we have some of our worst experiences as kids, so that we can grow up with thick skins and deal with the adult world.
After hearing all the stories in the news about young women committing suicide after being bullied for weeks/months/years, I had to sit back and ponder. I was bullied for years. How bad did it get? Bad. Am I overreacting? No.