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Study: Students are hiding talents from bullies

Why are some of today's students are afraid to shine too brightly?

By Parenting Magazine Nov 28, 2012 3:57PM

By Shannon at Babytalk

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 brightly, lest they attract the notice of bullies.

Photo: Katrina Wittkamp/Getty ImagesA survey of 1,042 British children ages 11-16 revealed that more than half of school-age kids are downplaying their talents or refusing to showcase their abilities, out of fear that bullies would ridicule them for it.

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Those looking to torment their peers do not deem scholarly abilities, such as proficiency in math or science, “cool”, so some children are deliberately underachieving (one in 10 girls admitted to hiding their abilities in science and one in five, 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 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.

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"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, the chair of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, tells The Daily Mail.

The results of this survey came out just as Anti-Bullying Week (Nov. 19-23), which hopes to bring light to the issue and offer useful advice, was getting under way in the United States.

What are some of the ways that you can encourage your child to shine this week?

Bing: More about Anti-Bullying Week

Photo: Katrina Wittkamp/Getty Images

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