Bullying and Self-Image

Young people with a cleft at one of our confidence-building camps

Young people with a cleft at one of our confidence-building camps

The theme of this year’s Awareness Week is an issue that affects a lot of people born with a cleft lip and palate, though it is a sad fact that nearly everyone will experience bullying at some point in their lives. This can be by kids at school, by brothers or sisters, or even by adult. It’s important to remember that bullying is bullying, no matter who it’s coming from, and that the best way to stop bullying is to call it what it is and ask for help.

If someone is deliberately hurtful to others over a period of time, that person is a bully, even if they aren’t aware of how much their actions hurt others. Some myths about bullying include the idea that ‘it’s harmless fun’, it ‘builds character’, it’s ‘just teasing’ or that the best way to deal with it is to fight back. If friends and relatives say these kinds of things to you, they may mean well but that doesn’t mean they’re right! Bullying is never acceptable, and hurts both the victim and the bully in the long term.

Bullying comes in many forms, from physical hitting and stealing or damaging your belongings to indirect bullying like excluding you from groups and spreading nasty rumours. If you or someone you know is being bullied, it’s important to take it seriously and do something about it.

Bullying UK and Kidscape have excellent advice on what to do about general bullying, whether you’re a victim, a teacher or a parent, but for this year’s Awareness Week we’re focusing on what to do if you or someone you know is being bullied because they have a cleft.

What Can I Do?

If you’re being bullied, if a friend is being bullied, or if a child at your school is being bullied.


Interviews with people (including several celebrities!) who were born with a cleft about how it affected them growing up and how they coped with any negative attention.

Questions & Answers

Questions from young people about growing up with a cleft and issues it may cause answered by our resident agony aunt.

Staying Safe on Social Media

A guide to help young people stay safe on social media and deal with any problems they may be having related to bullying.

How Teachers and Schools Can Help

A guide for teachers and parents to help make a difference at school if a child is having problems because of their cleft.

Confidence and Self-Esteem

A guide to staying confident and dealing with insecurities around looking or sounding different.


Including videos, presentations and booklets.


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