Who Me?

Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Bullying does, too.

When I was a little girl, I did something I’m not proud of–okay, I did lots of somethings, but this one is worth sharing. My sister and I were visiting our aunt and uncle. One of their other nieces was there as well. She wasn’t our cousin, as she was from the other side of the family. Alone with my sister, I said something snarky about Kathleen.

From out of nowhere, my aunt swooped in. She’d been on the other side of the camper, and I hadn’t seen her. Sadly, she’d heard me. She was angry, and rightfully so.

“What if I’d been Kathleen? How do you think she would feel hearing you say something like that?”

I would love to say I hadn’t thought about it, but that would have been a lie. I’d given it great thought, which is why I said what I did when I thought Kathleen couldn’t hear me. I hadn’t wanted to hurt her feelings. What I hadn’t considered was who else might hear.

That night taught me a great lesson. It went beyond the classic Bambi line of, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

It was a lesson in connections. We never know who might hear our scathing words. We don’t know who is connected to whom. We don’t have a clue as to everyone’s life experiences, expectations, hurts, fears, friends or families. In short, we have no business being rude ever. It was a powerful lesson in, “If you can’t say it to their face, don’t say it at all.”

I would love to say I haven’t made this mistake since, but that would be a lie. I’m human. I have opinions. I talk way too much. However, since that night, I’ve tried really hard to be respectful to people individually, and to all groups of people when talking to others. I try to remember that words can hurt. Especially the ones that were never meant to be heard.

Tips and Tricks for Keeping Your Inner Bully Away

  • Stop talking the minute you feel compelled to start a sentence with, “I don’t mean to be rude…”, or “No offense, but….” I promise, you will be rude and offensive to someone.
  • Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to that person’s face. If you can’t picture telling someone they are chubby or smelly or slow or ugly, don’t tell someone else. The grapevine is made up of lots of people with lots of unexpected connections. That person you think is chubby, smelly, slow and ugly will hear about it. I promise.
  • In fact, THINK before you speak. Is what you have to say: True, Helpful, Important, Nice or Kind? If not, keep your mouth closed, because all you are doing is gossiping. And gossip is always hurtful.

What tips do you have to help control your inner bully? How have you bullied someone without knowing it? What did you do after you realized you had hurt someone?

Curious minds want to know.

Expert Says Social Media Has Taken Bullying To New Level

I was checking Twitter tonight and saw a tweet from William Shatner.

I was expecting a comment about Star Trek or one of the television shows he follows. Instead, the link led to a story about a 17-year-old girl who had been attacked because of a dispute over posts on social media.

When I was in high school, the personal computer did not exist. Smartphones were science fiction. The only social media available was the newspaper. The worst people could do electronically was to call you on your landline telephone and yell in your ear. And most households only had one telephone.

Times have changed. Now, a harsh comment can reach the entire world in seconds. Unkind words and rumors can be spread with the click of a mouse.

It’s important for parents to talk to their children about the harm this can do. In this case, it led to physical violence. It’s also important for people of all ages to avoid being a part of this sort of bullying. Because it can spread so quickly to so many people, the situation can escalate out of control before cooler heads can react.

Please think twice before sending an angry tweet, text message, or other social media post when you are upset. It may destroy someone’s life—even your own.

The link to the story is here: Expert Says Social Media Has Taken Bullying To New Level « CBS Chicago.

The Facts About Bullying

I came across this infographic while researching online, and I thought it best to share.




The numbers are staggering. And quite frankly, disturbing. Back in my day, when cell phones and camera phones were rare, bullying manifested itself in physical and verbal form. The boys who picked on each other, the girls who spread hurtful rumors. Now, with the kind of accessible technology that we have, bullying has taken an uglier, more personal form. And it is terrifying.

My own kids are still pretty young to own phones, though my fifth grader does have an iPod with a built-in camera. Most of the kids in her grade have their own phones, which they bring to school with them. While there haven’t been instances of cyberbullying among her peers, there was one incident two years ago that involved a group of girls and a tape recorder.

Two years ago meant that my daughter was only in third grade then. She’s a good student, with a very kind heart. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, and I’m not just saying that because I’m her mother. I’m saying it because it is true. There was a group of girls who for some reason decided it would be funny to pretend they were my daughter and record something on their tape recorder, something that would humiliate her and a boy she was friends with. They played the tape at school, and indeed, they got the laughter that they wanted…except from the two people they made fun of. It wasn’t cool. And it wasn’t right that the bystanders did nothing to tell these girls that what they were doing was wrong and hurtful.

Of course, as soon as I found out, I contacted the parents of the girl who owned the tape recorder. The parents were oblivious–they had no clue (and were hesitant to believe) that their daughter would and could do such a thing. I contacted the parents of the girl who masterminded the *prank*, but all I got from that was a defensive mom who gave me the cold shoulder.

Bullying is a real problem that some adults brush off as “kids just being kids”. I hope that we can be better adults than that. Just look at the infographic. It is time we do something about it. It is time we make a difference.

Tales from the Bully Box: Now Available

After much anticipation, we are pleased to announce the release of Tales from the Bully Box.

BullyBox_FrontCover-3Bullying stinks, but knowing what to do about it can make things better. In Tales from the Bully Box, you will find short stories about kids just like you. They get bullied, and sometimes they even bully. But most of the time, they are bystanders who have to figure out what to do when they witness the bullying all around them. In “Hailey’s Shooting Star,” one-handed Hailey proves her worth on the basketball court and as a friend. In “The Eyes on the Back of My Head,” you’ll get to stare straight into Mike Mansky’s soul with a pair of super-secret laser eyes. Filled with stories that take readers on a journey from the classroom to summer camp and the basketball court to the mall, Tales from the Bully Box inspires kids to be the best friends they can be.

We hope you have as much fun reading it as we did writing the ten tales inside.


The Bully Box Brigade

Introduction – Eden Grey

Hi everyone! My name is Eden Grey, and I am so super excited to be a part of this anthology!

This is honestly my first experience ever with publishing my fiction writing. I am a Teen Librarian and have done many professional presentations and had an article published in VOYA magazine, but this is my first short story! I am in the process of finishing a draft of a YA sci-fi novel in preparation for starting NaNoWriMo next month. I also read and review a ton of YA fiction, which you can check out on my blog and other review sites like this one here.

In my free time I read, write reviews, write YA fiction, blog, attend to my red long-haired dachshund, make costumes and go to anime conventions, and take kickboxing classes. And yes, I still have time to sleep and consume copious amounts of coffee. Enough about me, on to the story!

My short story for this anthology is called Emergency Exit, and it’s about a peculiar little girl named Josephine who has Asperger’s and is bullied by her classmates because of her differences. At the beginning of 2014 I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and while as an adult I don’t have to face the bullying challenges that youth do, I can very much see how AS affected my childhood.

Asperger’s Syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder on the high-functioning end of the spectrum. The diagnosis came as a relief, and a welcome way of understanding my differences from neurotypical people and my struggles after entering the professional workforce. There are so many parts of myself that stem from Asperger’s Syndrome, and I wouldn’t be myself without them. I wouldn’t be where I am today; instead, I would be stuck in the past, miserable and unable to move forward or succeed. I am brave (I take chances), honest (sometimes to the point of rudeness), ambitious (which can be intimidating), with a unique perspective (but the rules shouldn’t always be questioned), and a knack for seeing details others don’t notice (which can be very distracting).

I have learned to embrace what makes me different, and that includes much of myself that doesn’t have anything to do with AS. But without AS, I wouldn’t have learned to be so accepting. First accept yourself, be happy with yourself, or you won’t be happy with anything.