Family & Parenting

Mom Takes To Facebook To Share The Severe Effects Of Bullying On Her Son

Even words can leave a mark.

When Liam Fell started the 7th grade, he was a happy-go-lucky, active boy. He was obsessed with soccer, and he also loved hanging out with his friends, riding his bike and exploring the neighborhood. When he tried out for the soccer team at school, he was thrilled when he made the cut. His parents expected that Liam would be over the moon for the rest of the school year.

But he wasn’t. Instead, Liam went from being an active, happy boy to being a quiet, withdrawn kid. Outside of school and soccer, he stopped leaving the house. He told his mom he didn’t want to hang out with his friends. He gave her back his iPhone and said it was “too much drama.” And most importantly, he stopped eating. His weight declined rapidly and he had to be hospitalized.

Meanwhile, his parents were left wondering what the heck was going on with their son. How did Liam go from such a confident and loving boy to such an unhappy and unreachable kid, nearly overnight?

Well, as mom Deirdre shares on this now-viral Facebook post, the reason was simple: Bullying.

As explained in her post, it didn’t take long for these bullies’ words to have an insidious and long-lasting impact on Liam. Even with a close-knit, loving family, he was still hugely damaged by the actions and words of his classmates. His story is illustrative of the fact that bullying is a much more serious problem than many adults realize.

According to the 2015 CDC National Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance report, over 20 percent of teens say they are bullied at school. Nearly 30 percent of these teens say they feel sad and hopeless nearly every day, and that they have seriously considered suicide.

Bullying is not just part of growing up, and parents and kids shouldn’t blindly accept it. Words may not break your bones, but they do leave a mark. That is why anti-bullying campaign Stand for the Silent is creating a social media campaign with the hashtag #WordsCanLeaveaMark. You can share your own story (or your child’s story) about bullying by using this hashtag. In doing so, you’ll not only help to raise money for this important organization, but will also help highlight the fact that words do leave an indelible mark on our souls.

There is a positive end to Liam’s story. Since his mom Deirdre’s post went viral, thousands of people came to Liam’s defense and offered comfort and courage to the sick boy. People have been posting using the hashtag #WeStandWithLiam on their pictures and Instagram posts, and his community rallied around him and dedicated their recent “Unity Day” (a day for kids to stand united against bullying) in Liam’s honor.

And Liam is starting to look like his old self again:

He’s even been kicking around the soccer ball again:

It’s so awesome to see Liam playing soccer and feeling more like himself. Standing up to bullies is not just the right thing to do. It can help to save lives and keep kids like Liam safe.

[h/t: TODAY]