You might have seen from my previous posts that Mommy Me has been honoring people who are passionately working with mothers and kids in various fields. So this week , I am very proud and glad to introduce to you all, Cherie White, who is an anti-bullying activist for bullied teens and kids. She has written several books based on bullying which are available on various platforms for us to read. Cherie White has an informative blog, which is dedicated to bullying. Her blog is furnished with minute details and deep thoughts on bullying.
Few weeks ago, I had made a post on Subtle Bullying in my blog and I was really appalled by the responses as everybody who commented said they had been through bullying. I was also bullied and faced worst kind of betrayal as a high school kid and I know how badly it can affect someone’s personality and future. I had shared my story in the blog and you can read it to know, how my life has changed after I decided to raise above all the negativity.
Bullying is a very important topic that needs to be addressed today and I believe parents and teachers play a crucial role in preventing it. Bullying can happen anywhere. It may take place in your school, college, work-place or even in your home. It is important to put an end to it right away and let’s hear more on this topic from Cherie, who has been researching about bullying for more than two decades. I am sure she has wonderful insights which will help victims to face the bullies and I am certain that it will be beneficial to parents of victims to help them get their normal life back.
Mommy Me : First of all, your blog is amazing. The details in every post are so original and deep.
Cherie White : Thank you so much. This means a lot. It is an honor to be a guest on your blog!
Mommy Me : Do you write these sensational articles from your own experience or from other people’s experience?
Cherie White : Mostly from my own experiences. I was horribly bullied in school from the sixth grade until I finally switched schools during my senior year in high school. I began researching bullying during the mid ’90s. In about ’95-‘96, I came across a magazine article on school bullying. It was about a boy who was tormented by his classmates and ended up having to change schools before anything got better. When I read that article, it answered so many of my questions and I finally realized that none of it was my fault and that none of it was “all in my head” like I was forced to believe. It was as if the pieces of a years-long puzzle had finally come together. I cannot tell how relieved I was!
From then on, I did intense research on bullying, reading every magazine and online article I could get my hands on. I’ve been studying the subject of bullying for over 20 years now.
Mommy Me : How do you think teachers should handle bullies?
Cherie White : I think they should hold them accountable and take measures to protect the target from further harm and harassment. Teachers have a responsibility not only to teach but also to protect children from being hurt while they’re at school.
Mommy Me : What are the changes one can see in a student who is being bullied?
Cherie White : There are several changes to look for:
- Withdrawal from others and a lack of interest in things they once enjoyed.
- Sadness, anger, acting out.
- Bruises, scrapes and cuts on the physical body, torn clothing, broken eyeglasses, their property destroyed.
- Coming home super hungry- it points to having their lunch money taken.
- A sudden drop in their grades! This is a biggie!
Mommy Me : If a student doesn’t want to open up to his parents about what he has been going through, how can parents find out what’s going on?
Cherie White : They can do this several ways:
- Keep or get access to all their child’s email, social media and phone passwords, as cyber-bullying is a major problem today.
- Continue to talk in a loving manner without pushing too hard. Be patient with the child. Talk to your child’s friends or their friend’s parents to find out if they’re being bullied. The child may not tell you but word does get around through other students and their families.
- Pay attention to changes in mood and personality. Also watch for change in style of dress. For example, if you have a daughter who normally takes care of herself, then all of a sudden, begins to let herself go, that’s also a red flag and they should investigate.
- Continue to offer support. Whatever you do, don’t give up on them and don’t place blame by telling them to “toughen up” or to “just ignore it”. That’s the worst thing you can do because, in essence, you’re blaming them for what’s happening to them.
Mommy Me : Can you share a specific instance of change that you witnessed with bullies you’ve worked with?
Cherie White : Sadly, most bullies don’t change. A few do, but most do not. The majority of bullies will only justify themselves and rationalize their bad behavior. However, the few who do change do apologize and either didn’t realize they were being hurtful at the time, or they admit that they too were hurting or being bullied and did their bullying to feel like they had some control over their lives.
I can only tell you about a certain girl who bullied me in school, who I became great friends with later. We ran into each other again about 20 years later. She did apologize to me as did her spouse, who also bullied me in school. We became such good friends after that. We would get together for cookouts and such and we would often say to each other, “Wow! We could’ve had so much fun together! Why were we so stupid?” Sadly, she passed away two years ago and I miss her very much. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her.
Mommy Me : How can you bring change in a bully and make them feel sorry for the damage they have done?
Cherie White : That’s difficult to do. As I said earlier, most bullies do not admit that they were ever wrong, even as adults. And many of them continue to bully others after they become adults. Unless the person wants to change, there’s no way you can make them. It takes a conscious decision to change that only they can make.
Mommy Me : Tell us about your book, ‘From Victim to Victor’.
Cherie White : My book is entitled, “From Victim to Victor: A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying.” It is a chronological account of the worse six years of my life. It’s about how most of my classmates bullied me from grade seven until I finally switched schools during my senior year in high school.
The book is available on Amazon and several other online storefronts
During the eighth grade, I knew that someday, I was going to write a book about the torment I was suffering in school. Because no one would listen to me when I spoke out about it, I begin to write about the bullying in journals. It started out as my way of pouring my heart out on paper, and of documenting everything that was happening, in detail, and how it made me feel, just in case I needed a record to take to court.
By the time I graduated, I had accumulated so many journals of those horrible years. I kept them put away for over two decades and when I finally decided I was ready to write and publish a book about it, I took them all out and wove them into the book.
My paternal grandmother inspired me to write the journals and told me to treat it like a story. Also, my school bullies, with their hate and abuse, inspired me to write the book someday. And I did. I wrote the book because they said I couldn’t and would never succeed in writing it. I wrote the book to show them “I can and I will”.
Even with the old journals, it took two years to write the book. And it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Writing and publishing “From Victim to Victor” allowed me to have my chance to talk, to speak my mind about what happened and to let what were my thoughts during that time be known. But most importantly, it gave me closure to what was the most painful time of my life!
Mommy Me :Thank you Cherie, for this your wonderful insights on bullying and congratulations for your book.
There are still many things to be discussed with Cherie White on bullying. This topic is really vast and the discussion cannot end in a day or two. The more I read about bullying there are so many questions arising about the same in my mind. Cherie has promised to us that she will talk more on this issue in coming weeks and I hope parents of victims can benefit from this interview.
I cannot thank her enough for being so kind. I really appreciate the fact that she sent me the answers very promptly and was so involved through out the collaboration. I really hope this little effort from us would benefit parents and students of this age or anyone who is going through a tough time because of a bully.
If you are someone who is passionate about working for a better lifestyle of children and moms, do write to firstname.lastname@example.org. The world needs to hear your story. For more details, read here.