WHEN pop star Danny Jones from McFly spoke about being bullied at school in Bolton he did a remarkable thing.
Danny, whose group has topped the charts and performed to sold-out arenas, is undoubtedly influential among young people. He’s just started as a judge in The Voice Kids and plainly is viewed as an accessible music guru.
He was targeted by bullies when he went to Thornleigh Salesian College because they didn’t like him learning to play the guitar. Their taunts to the then 13 year-old almost made him give up on music but his determination won through and he continued to learn and improve.
Apart from his own strength, he puts this down to the support from his mum and the rest of his family who believed in him. His situation is perhaps extreme because of his success, but bring that down to more ordinary levels of survival, and it’s worth examining how children of all ages can beat the bullies.
First of all, Danny’s take on what happened to him will give hope to many youngsters currently being bullied. It might also make the bullies think for a minute, although it’s quite likely that they have their own emotional baggage (hence the bullying).
Secondly, it would obviously be worth parents talking to someone at school about the problem – although children will often beg parents not to. They tend to think it will just make matters worse.
In my own experience with a bullied daughter years ago, talking to the head of year proved exactly the right thing to do. It became obvious that my daughter’s experience was part of a much bigger bullying picture by a couple of girls and their friends, and the worst culprits left.
The real and long-term way forward though is to help children empower themselves. I’m no expert but I visited the website for anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label and found some excellent advice.
This tackles the subject from several angles – from 10 things you need to know about confidence to when banter crosses over into bullying. It also advises on things we need to stop saying like “I’m no racist but ….”, “Don’t be so sensitive” and “No offence, but ….”
The site uses the kind of language and allusions that children understand and in a non-preachy way to make them think and, hopefully, feel stronger and more able to tackle the bullies.
View the original article in the Bolton News here