Being different

In schools and cultures that insist on a high level of conformity, children blame themselves for being different. A young Japanese girl told me about a cool, popular boy who had been teased once and then committed suicide, yet the boy who had teased him hadn't meant harm. In Japan everyone has to be the same with their clothes, behaviour, everything! But in America, everyone is encouraged to be different. Most children who are different to the peer group feel inferior. They might be homosexual, have an unusual name or dress differently. While most children laugh with their peers, you may be sensitive and react. The bully senses your self-denigration and attacks.

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