As mums, we’re terrified of bullying. Petrified of it.
We worry our precious babies are being hurt by nasty comments and exclusion. We worry they are abused and told they’re worthless on the street, in school and online. And worst of all we worry that they’ll believe it.
Of course we’re also scared that our children are the ones doing the bullying. How do we deal with that? Suddenly what seems black and white becomes a grey area as we wonder why our lovely kids would want to hurt another person.
As we know, bullying attacks the most important thing children have, the thing that must be protected at all costs: the way they see themselves. Their self-esteem, their belief in themselves, their confidence.
While we can’t always protect our kids, we can talk to them regularly about bullying – and about why bullies do it. We’ve found that watching movies with our children around the topic is a fantastic way to explore and discuss it in a non-threatening way.
Here are the movies we recommend watching with your children:
1. Mean Girls
Mean Girls has become the iconic high school bully movie. While there’s no doubt it’s highly entertaining and funny – the themes are serious: exclusion, power play, control.
2. Odd Girl Out
This movie is about a girl who is in the ‘cool crowd’, but when she catches the eye of the Queen Bee’s crush, not only do her so-called friends freezer her out, they bully her relentlessly. The saddest part of this movie is that she believes what they tell her and eventually attempts suicide.
A must-see for teens AND their mums.
They say that only sticks and stones can hurt, but we know that’s definitely not true. Cyberbully looks at the effect nasty online comments has on a teenager. In this social media age it’s essential viewing.
4. A Girl Like Her
A Girl Like Her is not just a movie, it’s a movement. The movie has been made available to schools and colleges all over the US as a tool to open dialogue on bullying and bring about change.
5. The Ant Bully
A great film about bullying for a younger audience, the story centres on a 10-year old boy, Lucas) who is new in town and tormented by the local bully. Lucas turns into an ant (stay with us!) and learns a whole new perspective on life, as well as the courage to stand up for himself.
Have you found any movies particularly helpful in opening a conversation on bullying? Or one that's prompted your child to speak about their experiences? We'd love to hear from you.