How to Help a Teen Overcome Bullying
Six months ago, I crossed paths with a girl who had been a victim of severe bullying at school. She was terrified to go back, so her supportive mum temporarily home schooled her. Her mum asked me to teach her daughter singing lessons. After hearing Madi sing, I was astounded. Madi could already sing better than most adults I know, at the age of 14! She didn’t need singing lessons, she needed opportunities to shine.
Madi came to my house once a week and I played songs on the guitar while she sang. I thought it would be a good idea to get her to perform at a monthly Open Mic Night. There was a big stage with stage lights and sound equipment. Madi sang while I played the guitar and I sang too. She didn't seem too confident, but sounded like an angel. The crowd were so supportive and cheered her on.
I helped Madi to set some goals. We decided that at the Open Mic Night next month that I would play guitar, but only she would sing. At the one after that, she would sing and play the keyboard independently. I also arranged for her to play background music at our monthly community markets. We set goals for the markets too, the end goal being that she would perform independently. She made money busking and the market vendors gave her food like homemade chocolates, crepes and curry to thank her for her music. They clapped and some people were in tears because they were so moved by her singing!
After a few months Madi started going to school again. The biggest goal was for Madi to sing in front of the school. One day Madi came to my place and she had written a song! She played it for me and it gave me goose bumps! Absolutely amazing! More songs came too. The music teacher at school was surprised to hear she had been performing in the community and asked her to perform at school. There was a vocal teacher who was giving Madi lessons once a week at school too.
Last week Madi was invited to sing her original song ‘Stronger’ at an event where the mayor was a guest! Today Madi performed her song in front of the school for the end of year awards assembly and NAILED it! Imagine the courage it would take to get up and sing a song about resilience in front of people who bullied you! She has conquered her biggest fear and I hope this has shown her that she can do anything! She is now planning to record her songs professionally! People may have supported her, but Madi is the one who did the work and made this happen! So proud of her! The best part is that a special guest at the assembly loved her singing so much that she has been offered paid singing gigs at community events in 2016! You can hear Madi's song 'Stronger' and follow her journey on her Facebook Music Page HERE.
What can you learn from this?
-Guide your child to find a skill/talent/gift that they have, like Madi’s singing
-As a parent, nurture that skill/talent/gift and be their biggest cheerleader, like Madi’s mum
-Find people outside of your family that will provide opportunities for your child to shine, like the music teacher asking Madi to sing in front of the school.
-Be a part of a community that will help support your child, like the Open Mic Night community
-Help your child set goals that they can work towards, like Madi singing in front of the school. As goals are reached set new ones, like Madi recording her songs professionally.
-Being a victim of bullying is an event. It’s not something you are. If it happens to your child make sure they get counselling.
Learn more about helping a child discover their ‘spark’ by reading ‘Raising Girls’ by Steve Biddulph. Also read ‘Raising Boys.’ Do you know what your special talent is? Do you know what your child’s special talent is?