Don’t let a bully get you down!

Ever been bullied? I was, throughout my high school days by a male classmate. I hated running into him, because there was always “that name” that he called me. His bullying was sly and quiet; he did his taunting out of hearing distance of teachers and other students. I don’t believe anyone in my school knew he called me “that name,” or would have believed he was capable of such behavior.

I never told anyone. Not my family, not friends, not my husband or children. I had wonderful parents, a protective big brother, caring cousins, good teachers, but to this day, I have told no one—just you. The name-calling classmate was a “leader” among my fellow students – a jock, a good student, a churchgoer, college-bound. But as far as I was concerned, he was a jerk; the name he called me made me question who I was as a person.

This form of bullying, and many other types of bullying, are a common challenge that kids face while they are growing up. That is why Washington County Library has put together a new Grab ‘n’ Go Parenting Kit that can help parents and caregivers and kids.

Each “Bullying Kit” contains 4 books, a DVD, and a resource folder with information about organizations that offer advice and answer questions individuals may have about how to deal with a bulling situation. Or the kit can be a good resource for a teacher, a counselor, a social worker – someone who just wants to know more about the culture of bullying. Kids as young as preschool age may have to deal with bullying — shoved around because of small stature, called names because of race, or size, or economic status, and on and on. A book for the very young is included in the kit: “The Bully Blockers Club” stresses the importance of being kind to one another, and suggests what kids can do if they see bullying going on around them. Another book in the kit, “Dear Bully,” is a collection of personal stories from 70 top authors.  Other items in the kit: “Cyber Bullying” by Nick Hunter, “The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander” by Barbara Coloroso; and the DVD “Bullies are a Pain in the Brain.”

I should have told. I had any number of people who would have helped me. But I was embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to hear “that name.” What if others joined in? If I told, would the bully do something to get back at me? My inaction gave the bully power. But I also knew that I was strong: “that name” was not who I was.

My way of dealing with bullying was not a healthy choice. Today, there is a lot of good information and a lot of dialogue about this topic – as evidenced in this new collection of materials the Library is offering. Washington County Library hopes that residents will make use of this kit, and other Grab ‘n’ Go Parenting Kits available for checkout at our libraries.

Library Woman is Joey Halbach, Community Relations Librarian for Washington County Library. Contact her at: joey.halbach@co.washington.mn.us/library

 

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