“EllieBea gradually turned from the bouncy, fun-loving extravert we knew at home to a quiet, miserable seven year old” - Jacqueline’s story
- Credit: Bill Smith - Archant
Jacqueline Hitchcock-Wyatt describes herself as a 'mother on a mission'. Here, she describes her daughter's experience, and how, together, they came through it.
'My daughter has always been different from her contemporaries, not only physically but also personally. This factor alone has meant that she's been consistently bullied throughout her schooling.
'EllieBea was born 10 weeks premature and tiny. By the time she went to nursery she was not only physically considerably smaller than anyone else but she also wore thick glasses. This immediately singled her out as being different and the bullying began. EllieBea was excluded and rejected; children wouldn't play with her or allow her to join in their games. She tried many ways to relieve this, such as inviting them home for tea, pretending to be interested in their games and toys and giving them all her attention, but nothing worked.
'The school said they were addressing the issue but for two years we watched as EllieBea gradually turned from the bouncy, fun-loving extravert we knew at home to a quiet, miserable seven year old who didn't want to go to school and hadn't the confidence to walk with her head held high. We had exhausted all the efforts we could think of so decided it was time to move her to another school.
'After initial interest from other pupils at her new school, the same pattern repeated itself. After five years she decided to move schools again, but after being abandoned on a taster day she decided to stay at the original school, and seek professional help from a chartered clinical psychologist. Ultimately, however, it was the hit US programme Ugly Betty which came to the rescue.
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'Betty was such a good role model for EllieBea and our family became avid fans. EllieBea absorbed and learned new coping techniques and gradually turned from a miserable, introverted 12-year-old, to the confident, determined, strong-willed girl we now enjoy.
'EllieBea is still different; she still doesn't fit in with the majority of her peers and she is rarely bullied now but when she is, she often thinks about how Ugly Betty might react to the situation and follows her lead! She now has the confidence to accept herself just the way she is and this has made all the difference to her life in and outside school.'
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