At six years old, little Sophia should be enjoying her first year of big school, practicing her cartwheels in the playground and learning how to read and write.

Instead, she is physically sick every night, in and out of hospital and afraid to go to school.

And the reason? Because of something that continues to crop up over and over and over again, something that impacts countless kids every day, something that has already caused many children to take their own lives as an escape.

Bullying. Yes, bullying. At six years old. How awful is that?

This is what bullying does…

Sophia’s mum, Carrie Golledge shared this very shocking image and now-viral message on her Facebook page earlier this week. Although she doesn’t delve into the exact details of the bullying, her photo paints a pretty clear picture.

Six year old hospitalised due to bullying

This is my 6 year old daughter, hospitalised, due to bullying…

These are Carrie’s words about Sophia. Raw, emotional and eloquent, you can picture this mama’s heart breaking as she discloses how bullies are destroying her child. Piece by piece, day by day. And apparently without a single thing being done about it.

This is my 6 year old daughter, hospitalised, due to bullying…

This is my child with such a caring heart that despite being so ill “doesn’t want anyone to get in trouble”…This is my child who has stopped eating, has cried herself to sleep, had anxiety so severe she’s up sick over 20 times in an hour through the night…

Whose ‘best friend’ has emotionally abused her for so long she thought it was normal…

This is my child who has been in and out of hospital for countless trips due to being so sick with anxiety…

Who was told off for ‘telling tales at school’, who has been mocked on social media by the bullies’ parents, who, when addressing the issues with her school, [was] told “It’s just 6 year olds being 6 year olds”…”

A mother’s plea

“This is my child who is one of too many that are going through this… This is my child whose story is being twisted and manipulated by the very people that were meant to protect her at her school when she was in their care,” Carrie writes, the emotion clear in her words.

“This is my child who doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else. So this is my child’s story we are sharing. Please help us share her story. Let’s show her the support her school couldn’t afford her.”

She is one of many… too many 

Carrie’s message is absolutely heartbreaking. How a little girl, at age six, could be this sick from bullying is disgusting. But, like Carrie says, this is something that goes on for countless kids.

Kids like Sienna Davies, who suffered extreme panic attacks from bullying.

And Brian Birchell, who attempted to strangle himself with a curtain cord after a bullying incident.

And Dolly Everett, who chose suicide over having to face another year of bullying at her boarding school.

What to watch for

As parents, we need to be aware that things might not be all roses at school. We need to talk to our kids, to ask them questions, to monitor any changes and to let them know that we are always there to protect them, no matter what.

Below are a few of the signs to look for if you suspect your child is being bullied online or at school:

  • Changes in behaviour – becoming aggressive, unreasonable, insecure, anxious or frightened
  • Refusing to talk about what is wrong
  • Showing an unwillingness to discuss friendships and secrecy around communication at school and online
  • Grades slipping
  • Unexplained bruising, cuts, etc. or getting into fights at school
  • Coming home with missing or damaged belongings or clothing
  • Refusing to go to school or get out of bed
  • Changes in sleeping, eating patterns
  • Frequent mood swings, tears, anger and anxiety, stomach pains or unexplained pain

Where to get help

Bullying in schools is a major concern across Australia. If you or anyone you know needs help, please contact:

Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe, including her son, daughter, cat, dog, partner and baby #3 who is currently taking up residence on her bladder. When she's not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach or nagging her kids to put on their pants.

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