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Bullies suck. Being bullied sucks. It can end when their power is taken.

This sounds easy, but it won’t be.

I was talking to my mom the other day and she told me a story about my 10 year old niece. One day, she came home from school in tears. She had been a part of a group of kids and was given the job of going to the board to write something. Well, she is not a great speller and handwriting is not her thing. When she finished, the rest of her group laughed at her and told her what she had done was terrible and they couldn’t even read it.

Mom told her that maybe next time she should let her group know that spelling and writing aren’t her strong points and that she should request a different job. Turn the other cheek? Avoid confrontation?

Anger flared through me.

NO! She should have turned to them and said, “Stop. I’m not very good at this, but I did my best and don’t deserve to be treated like that.”

I went on in my rant… going on and on about kids saying things without thinking, but someone has to let them know it’s not okay. Never let anyone do or say anything that changes how you view yourself, that takes your power from you.

Mom paused and said, “That would have been the perfect thing to say to her.”

As a kid, I was the tallest girl in my class, a quiet goodie-two-shoes. Hello, the butt of every joke. If only someone had told me to tell those kids to knock it off. If only someone had stepped up to stop them, showing me what power is. I let them take my power. I sank further into the darkness of self-doubt and low self-esteem because of words, some goofy kids’ words. And I never told anyone.

Schools have anti-bullying assemblies. My kids have come home with coloring pages and T-shirts. But I think what really hit them was when I repeated told them…

If someone says something that makes you feel bad, tell them to stop and not with tears, but with power.

If you see someone saying or doing mean things to another kid, you go over there and stop it.

If I ever learn that you have said or done anything that hurt someone else, your life will end.

Sounds extreme? Maybe. But my son gained his first best friend when he stood up for him at school in kindergarten.

Teachers have enough to worry about. They can’t see everything that happens, they can’t be responsible for every action of every child.

I have heard stories of parents going to the school complaining that their child is being bullied and the school won’t do anything. They can’t take one child’s word over the other. They can’t.

My little examples are nothing compared to what goes on out there, but name calling is common. Kids are mean. They don’t think, they just speak. Maybe they hear their parents talk about people, maybe its TV… but in the end, kids just don’t understand the power of their words. Parents, teach them about their self worth.

Empower the kids. They can stop the bullying. Strong kids will become strong adults.