Demi Lovato may be a world-famous singer with the voice of an angel but getting there was anything other than a smooth journey. The biggest bumps of all came from the thing that affects millions every day: teen bullying. Whether or not you’ve been bullied yourself, you will probably know someone who has. According to a recent report by the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), bullying is the biggest concern for 16–18 year olds. Those who have experienced bullying are twice as likely to go on and bully others so it’s important to find ways to deal with its effects. Reading stories about how others have overcome bullying can inspire others to do so, especially if they’ve gone on to great success.
Turning fear into fabulous: Demi Lovato’s struggle with bullyingIt’s easy to see why anyone would be envious of Demi’s looks and talents. It is less easy to understand why they would turn admiration into something dark and nasty. “People would write ‘hate petitions’ [about me] and send them around to be signed.” Demi has explained. “They’d have CD-bashing parties of my demos. They’d come to my house, stand across the street and yell things. It was a very emotional time for me, and all I wanted to do was get away.” Demi was also bullied for being ‘fat’. Consequently she stopped eating at the age of 12 and lost 30lbs. As a result, she dropped to a dangerously low weight.“When I was about 15, I was only eating two meals a week, but I wasn’t losing any more weight because my body adjusted to that.” In the end Demi couldn’t bear to see her body on camera. Her spiral downwards would include drug use and self-harming. Eventually, with support from her family, she sought help to address these issues and an eating disorder, Bulimia. After treatment, and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, Demi has emerged a far stronger person. Demi now campaigns for greater awareness of eating disorders. As her 2015 song ‘Confident’ demonstrated, she has shown millions of teenagers that bullying doesn’t work. She didn’t allow her tormentors to stop her from achieving the life she was determined to lead. Yes, being in the middle of what may feel like a bullying campaign can be terrible at the time, but take the help that’s there for you and take control of the situation!
What is bullying?Bullying can happen in many different ways:
- Name calling
- Being humiliated in front of others
- Being physically harassed or hurt in any way
- Having money or items taken from you
- Being talked about or having rumours spread about you
- Being ignored or left out of social activities
- Being physically or mentally intimidated
What to do if you’re being bulliedFirst and foremost, don’t isolate yourself – people who care about you WANT to hear if something is wrong. So, get in touch with someone who can help you – a parent, a teacher or even us! If you don’t feel able to speak to someone close to you, contact one of the following organisations:
- Childline: 0800 1111
- Samaritans : 0845 790 9090
- National Bullying Hotline 0845 22 55 787
Extra help for parentsIf you’re a parent reading this, please sign up to our new Unstoppable Parent webinar because Kevin Mincher shares simple strategies that parents can use to help their teens deal with bullying. It’s FREE for everyone and you can sign up by clicking here!
What strategies do you have to combat bullying? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.