A Message to Children who stutter or who are being teased or bullied in other ways.

November 29, 2003

Dear Children,

If I knew you personally, there are many things that we could talk about to help you deal with the teasing and bullying that you are experiencing. But I do not know you and therefore cannot suggest any particular strategies that you might use. The situation is different for each and every child and there is no one best way to deal with it. In order to suggest strategies, it is important to know about you, about who is bullying you, and what is happening. However, there are two things that I can say to you that are very important.

  • If you are being teased and it is upsetting, or if you are being bullied in other ways, talk to a trusted adult (e.g., your parents, your teacher, or your school counsellor). Ask them to help you decide what to do about the teasing and bullying. You do not have to suffer in silence! If you don't ask for help no one will know that you need it. Get help and keep asking until you get the kind of help that helps you! You might start out by saying to the adult that you have decided to talk with "I am concerned about something and I need to talk with you privately."

  • Ask the adult to keep you involved in the process of finding a solution to the problem and ask them to check with you before they do anything. We know that many children are afraid to talk to anyone about teasing and bullying because they fear that if anything is done it will make the problem worse. Also, do not be afraid to tell the adult if you think the idea that he or she proposes may not be helpful. You might say: :

    "please don't do anything without first checking with me" and "if I think the idea of what to do may make the problem worse, I will tell you."

    Please remember that you should be working together with the adults to solve the problem.

I have worked with many children who stutter and it has been a highlight of my life. Please, if you are being teased and you are upset by it or if you are being bullied in other ways, get help. My heart goes out to you and all children who are being bullied.

Best regards,

Marilyn Langevin,
Institute for Stuttering Treatment & Research
Affiliated with the University of Alberta