Marianne Williamson once wrote: “There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.”
But it appears that some of today’s children are afraid to shine too bright incase they attract the notice of bullies.
A survey of 1,042 British children aged 11-16 revealed that over half of school-aged kids are downplaying their talents, or refusing to showcase their abilities, out of fear that bullies would ridicule them for it. Those looking to torment their peers do not deem scholarly abilities, like proficiency in math or science, “cool”, so some children are deliberately underachieving (1-10 girls admitted to hiding their abilities in science, and 1 in 5 their abilities in math).
And it’s not just grades that are being affected: many children are abandoning extracurricular activities too. They’re dropping out of singing, dance, and drama classes, choosing instead to walk the halls with a lowered heads and the fervent wish that they remain unnoticed. Instead of talents being a source of joy to be celebrated, students are afraid that they’re an invitation for the unwanted attention of critical bullies. Effectively, kids are choosing to dull their own light so that bullies have no reason to attack them.
"It's unacceptable that rather than celebrate their talent, they feel that they have to hide their gifts, purposely underachieve in crucial subjects and miss out on things they enjoy because of bullying," Ross Hendry, chair of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, tells The Daily Mail.
The results of this survey come out just as Anti-Bullying week, which hopes to bring light to the issue and offer useful advice, is getting under way in the US. What are some of the ways that you can encourage your child to shine this week? Let us know.