Bullying, famous people who were victims. Advice for parents

Who I am
Marie-Ange Demory
Author and references

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More and more often we hear about bullying which is now one of the most studied and, at the same time, worrying phenomena of our society. For this reason, again this year the National day against bullying and cyberbullying.

There are many famous people who have told (or of whom they are known) life stories marked by bullying. 

Vladimiro Polchi, journalist, he is the author of the book No one is imperfect. The revenge of the different (De Agostini), in which thirty stories of overcome fears and overcome difficulties are told. The protagonists of these stories are great artists, movie stars, established sportsmen, successful inventors, intellectuals, geniuses.

But who were these characters as children? Insecure children, adolescents who saw only defects in the mirror, girls and boys struggling with seemingly insurmountable problems. Among these Albert Einstein, Emma Stone, Jennifer Aniston, John Nash, Lionel Messi, Mika, Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, Susanna Tamaro, Sylvester Stallone and many others.

We interviewed the author asking him for more information about his book and some advice for parents. 

In this article

  • Bullied, why
  • Famous people victims of bullies, testimonials
  • Bullying, what parents can do
  • Tips for dealing with bullying
  • "No one is imperfect"

Why do you become bullied?

“I am not a sociologist or a psychologist and this is a delicate subject. But I can usually say that in bullying there is a difference in strength, that is, the bullies, the spectators and the wingmen (that is the whole world that surrounds the bullies) target weaknesses and frailties. There is no symmetry between the so-called "strong" and the so-called "weak".

The victim can be that because has personal, physical, or shyness weaknesses. He may also have socio-cultural weaknesses: for example, he may be a child of a particularly destitute and poor family, who cannot go to a pizzeria or to the cinema. Such a child in some classes can be stigmatized and therefore a victim of bullying, remaining isolated within the group ». 

Read also: Bullying: to counter it, action must be taken on 8 fronts

Famous people victims of bullies, testimonials

«I'll give two examples, starting from remote antiquity and reaching the contemporary age.

  • One is Claudius, emperor of the great city. He was a stuttering boy and unsteady on his legs, his own mother called him a "caricature of a man" and his sister also made fun of him. He was constantly bullied. This fragile boy, however, became the great Claudius, an emperor who built roads and aqueducts, who conquered Britain, who managed to make 20 edicts in one day. 
  • Another story of a 'bullied' of our times is the one that concerns Pink, super energetic American singer who has sold 40 million records. Pink was born with a collapsed lung and a very severe asthma problem. She often remembers an episode of bullying: at school a girl stole her private diary, tearing some pages from her and hanging them in the lockers of the institute, to show everyone what Pink had written. Pink today is a singer sensitive to all themes of diversity ».
Read also: 5 signs to unmask a cyberbully

What can parents do?

  • Parents, according to Polchi, must above all to listen a lot to the children, although in the adolescent stage they don't talk much. However, parents must ask them questions and listen to any suffering and difficulties.
  • “Then they have to pay attention to the use of the Internet and social networks and to the possible presence of cyberbullying. 
  • It is essential not only to listen, but also talk, perhaps recounting their own experiences. For example, I tell my son that when I was in sixth grade I was "thrown" in a dumpster by a group of boys. Now it makes me laugh, but at the time it was a real trauma. This pushes away the idea that we can all be victims of bullying and that we all have the resources to do it ”.
Read also: Bullying in sport: how to deal with it

Tips for dealing with bullying

  • «Anyone who is the victim of bullying absolutely must ask for help. Bullying, in serious forms, is a crime. We need to talk about it: we need to ask the teacher, the school principal, the parent, friends for help. You don't have to keep bullying to yourself and you don't need to isolate yourself. 
  • Sociability helps a lot. Usually if you are not isolated you are rarely targeted. It is useful to play group sports or join associations. For example, in the scouts involvement is a basic rule and you immediately feel part of the group ».
Read also: Bullying, what it is and how to deal with it

"No one is imperfect"

«The idea for this book comes from some stories that I have given to my son in the last year and a half. I have two, one almost 3 years old, the other 10. To that of 10 I had already told some stories, bringing the examples of characters who had had difficulties, weaknesses, imperfections and who later became giants from grown-ups.

One evening, in particular, I told him the story of Ray Charles, quite dramatic. Ray was a black boy, born in 1930 to a very poor family in the South of the United States: at that time there was racial segregation. His father abandoned him very soon. Ray witnessed the death of his brother at age 5 and became blind at age 7. He tried to save himself through music, but unfortunately when he was 15 his mother also died. 

He was alone and poor, he could get lost. But somehow he made it, finding resources within himself, becoming a genius, the inventor of soul and a celebrated musician around the world. From telling stories like this, I got the idea of ​​collecting many and presenting them to the public ”, states Vladimiro Polchi.

Read also: Educating children to respect to stop bullying

  • cyberbullying
  • Bullying
  • victims of bullies
  • victims
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