What Kids Need –When Self-Esteem Suffers In & Out of Virtual Classrooms
Sep 29, 2020 7:15 AM
Bev Davis, Author
What Kids Need –When Self-Esteem Suffers In & Out of Virtual Classrooms

“Learning to believe in yourself can be a struggle for kids when they are learning remotely, especially if they have been bullied,” says Bev Davis, hospital chaplain at Meriter Hospital and author of several children’s books about bullying.

By Sharyn Alden

Teachers, parents and students are facing the virtual school year with many challenges. One of those challenges, maybe not so obvious is a student’s feeling of not fitting in or being picked on.

“Low self-esteem can make a student more vulnerable to bullying,” says Bev Davis, an anti-bullying expert, hospital chaplain and author.

When she talks to groups about the importance of believing in yourself, she’s speaking from the heart since she was bullied throughout childhood.

Once bullying starts it has a deep impact on families and communities “The acts of marginalizing people doesn’t just effect the person being hurt; it effects everyone in your life, as it did mine,” she says.

Her experiences have given her deep empathy for others. That ability to be helpful is an important element in her position as a hospital chaplain at Meriter Hospital.

 “People may think that when you’re hurt with words it can’t be as bad as physically being injured, but the effects of words can actually hurt longer than sticks and stones.” says Davis. “I can still hear the taunting and see the spots on the playground where I was bullied.”

Davis holds a Masters of Divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago and a Certified Dementia Practitioner (NCCDP).

She will be speaking to the Sun Prairie Rotary Club on September 29 via a Zoom meeting about the life-long effects of bullying. All are welcome to join the meeting.

Her personal experiences inspired to write her first book, Great Gray…a Book about Exceeding No Expectations when she was in Clinical Pastoral Education Residency at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. (bevdavisauthor.com)

With many schools playgrounds closed due to Covid-19, Davis says there are still opportunities outside the classroom for kids to learn kindness and not be mean to each other

“If I had been bullied in the classroom before this pandemic closed my school, right now I’d be very anxious about what I would face when we return to the classroom,” she says. “I hope that any student who has been bullied will be able to share their feelings with their parents and that adults will listen, intently.”

Have a Plan –What a Bullied Person Needs

Davis says as a chaplain, and someone who works and supports people in all walks of life, she recognizes the importance of having a plan to help kids feel good about themselves.

Here are four points Davis suggests for parents:

  • Make a plan –then adjust it as necessary. The important part is having that plan in place.
  • Give full attention to the person who is hurting --your child!
  • Find a way to diffuse the pending situation by speaking with school administration, a social worker or teacher.
  • Help your child feel it is safe to share their feelings. Then please, take them seriously.

“These points of advocacy are based on my hearing from people who could have been helped, if they were heard and felt safe to share their feelings and circumstances with someone who they could trust,” she says.