Banish Bullying

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Middle school was not a happy place for me. I was a reader and a teacher's pet and a little chubby and late to the game of puberty. Add it all up and St. John's Elementary was not the most pleasant experience for me.

Things got worse when Patricia (names changed) my closest friend dropped me and my pursuit of the spelling bee trophy to hang out with the "cool crowd." They had perfect feathered hair. Trendy OP shorts. Boobs (did I mention the late bloomer part?).

I had my books and a happy home life. But this was a very lonely time. There were days when I was teased for being the slowest at tag and taunted for helping our teachers out. Being smart didn't carry a lot of cache.

What saved me was "Geek Camp." During summer I found my people--smart, sassy kids who thought that creating and learning were much hipper than hanging out at a mall. I wasn't lonely any longer. I did have to go back to the same school for 8th grade, but something had shifted. I didn't need approval from the class cool-kids. I just needed to trust I was on a path that was good for me.

My advice to parents? Help your kids find a tribe they can belong to.Seek out clubs, sports, church groups etc. for a place where kids can celebrate their interests and passions without fear of being uncool or bullied for being smart. It's not enough to say, "find new friends" or "it's just a phase." Give your kids some solutions.

Recognizing the serious impact of bullying, the makers of Epiduo® (adapalene and benzoyl peroxide) Gel 0.1%/2.5% is partnering with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center to create Banish Bullying – a campaign, promoted in Seventeen magazine.

Through the campaign, teens are encouraged to share their thoughts on how even just one small act can have a big impact against bullying among their peers – for example, at one local school teens in Brooklyn have formed a table where everyone is welcome to take the “where do I sit” feeling out of the equation. And I know my super-savvy community will have more ideas on how to get caring adults involved and ideas for taking power away from bullies. By visiting www.seventeen.com/banishbullying teens can submit a tip on how they would handle a bullying situation, and are given the chance to win $5,000 for their school provided by the makers of Epiduo® Gel

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Video developed by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

This Banish Bullying program and post is sponsored by the makers of Epiduo® Gel

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