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UK study finds kids hide their talents to avoid being bullied

UK study finds kids hide their talents to avoid being bullied2012-11-19T16:59:52+00:00

The Forums Forums Emotional Journey Bullying UK study finds kids hide their talents to avoid being bullied

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    Patte Rosebank
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    I wonder what percentage of those kids has ADHD or some other cognitive issue.

    I know that, when I was a kid, being mercilessly bullied at school (until I was finally pulled out of there, just before the final term of grade 6), I was bullied for being a super-smart kid, with boundless creativity, curiosity and thirst for knowledge, in a school which catered to the lowest-common-denominator of kids who came from families where ignorance and doing just barely enough to get by were valued. But I never thought of hiding any of my interests and skills.

    When I started at my new school (where knowledge, creativity, and curiosity were encouraged and celebrated), I wanted to do a ballet dance in the school talent show. The principal summoned me to his office, and explained that it would not be a good idea to do that, because it would probably make some kids pick on me. He asked if there was some other talent I could use in the show, like playing the piano or singing. So I played the piano (even though I wasn’t that good at it), and I sang in the school chorus.

    That was the very first time anyone had ever suggested to me that I not do something I really enjoyed, because I might get picked on for doing it. With hindsight, I know that the principal was very concerned that, coming from a background of being severely bullied, I needed to be protected from it in this new school. I was only at that school for the one term, becaus it only went up to Grade 6.

    For Grades 7 & 8, we all went to another school near that one. And for the talent shows there, I did everything I wanted to: singing in the chorus (and I was the only soloist), a character ballet solo, a jazz dance solo, a role in a French comedy sketch, and a stand-up routine. In fact, I spent those show nights either onstage or racing back & forth from the changeroom. And NOBODY picked on me!


    Post count: 14413

    When I was a kid, I wasn’t picked on for being smart or talented. Just for being different. I never let a fear of being bullied stop me from doing what I wanted to do (not finishing my math homework did get me kicked out of strings, in middle school though). However I did have low self esteem and was self concious about my “talents” until high school when I took probably every arts course (except visual arts) I could. I sang in the choir (several solo’s) played in the band and orchestra, and even starred in a few theatre productions.

    Anything held back (more academics) was more motivation/focus related than fear of bullying.


    Post count: 445

    Larynxa, it sounds to me like you were just in the wrong school, given your talents and proclivities. While it’s true ADDers frequently have a hard time forging friendships, a change of school in seventh grade (second form) apparently mitigated your problem. Good for you.

    People are tribal. Not only do they tend to prefer others like themselves, they frequently project their own frustrations and failings onto people who are different. Alas, ADDers are often “different,” sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a not-so-good way.

    I do think it matters where we send our kids to learn, particularly kids who have classroom “issues.” It’s not just about instruction and facilities—as important as those things are—it’s about peer group. We constantly hear about the importance of having “passionate” teachers. Rightly so. But if I had to choose, I’d go with “compassionate” classmates. I know from personal experience what a profound difference that can make.


    Post count: 173

    Great post, Larynxa. I was out at the pub with a couple of teacher-friends over the weekend and I was horrified at their attitude toward bullying. They kept saying that the bullied kids just needed to learn to change their behaviour (i.e., blame the victim). I think I will email them that BBC article and ask what they think about the ways kids are changing behaviour to avoid bullying.


    Post count: 173

    Post count: 3

    I grew up in a small, dumbed-down town that valued football and cheer leading (oversimplification). I was made fun of for being a “nerd” or a “dexter”. It didn’t stop me from being an excellent student though (until later) because I loved learning so much. What I got out of learning was far more rewarding to me than the peer acceptance seemed it would be. That is, until puberty and we girls were told we were supposed to be a certain way to be desirable. In the 80s that was confusing and complicated in its own unique ways. Anyway, whatever the circumstances, I decided to work on NOT being a nerd. I wish I’d never done that and am re-embracing my inner geek. After all, haven’t geeks changed (taken over?) the world with the very technology I am using right now to communicate with you fine people? 🙂 Not being a nerd lead to some acting out that never has a good outcome. But I’m not there anymore.

    I recently have experienced a demoralizing setback at work. My boss minimized my skills (threatened?) and squashed me like a bug. He promised to help me get into the next level job but instead he has thwarted me at every effort for a few years now. It’s sapped my motivation and confidence. I no longer performed at that A++ level.  I was beating myself up, having trouble seeing a way out. I’ve been stuck in the same old same old. I was blaming myself for what was going on in the environment, or not being able to figure out how to fix it.

    However, everything came to a head last week and my boss and I finally had a heated discussion (not quite argument) about it and I was brutally honest with him and told him that he’d promised to help me advance but then he did the opposite. It seems he actually heard me because he came back to me a few days later and told me I was right, he had promised to help me progress, but he did not help me with that, he had no good excuse for it, and if I wanted to do that now, I could feel free with his blessing and recommendation. I was tied by not wanting to burn a bridge since he has a strong relationship with everyone I would work with in this next role. But I no longer have to worry about that and can move on and get out of this unhealthy situation.

    It’s important that we recognize our strengths and stay with them. In this case my job requires a lot of brain power. It’s hard when there is no support or encouragement, especially from folks with any power over you. A parent, a boss, a teacher, clergy, etc. He was being hypercritical of any “mistake” (or perceived mistake) I made. I had an opportunity to do this more advanced job as sort of a trial, did a great job on it, but he never said I did. I was convinced that the company didn’t htink I did a good job since NOBODY said I did.  All they said was it took longer than others take. I was new at it! I am very thorough! I wasn’t even given an opportunity to talk about the job when it was complete. Any time I tried to talk about it, I was dismissed. I found that staggering. But it seems the way things go a lot of times, you hear it when it’s bad, no news is good news. Still from him it sucked because we’d been working together for many years. And similarly to my parents, teachers, he was in a position of power over me and so I thought he must know or see something I don’t.

    Hopefully going forward I can recognize these things sooner and be more proactive. It can just be so terrifying as my fear was that no matter what I did I would make it worse. But that wasn’t true in this case. So a well thought out plan is a good idea. Which is what we don’t “feel like” doing. But we are worth it.

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