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If Glee is the TV show most likely to remind bullied kids that they're not alone, Chris Colfer is the star most likely to give them hope that one day it will all be over. It wasn't that long ago that the 22-year-old Golden Globe winner was one of them. Parents, listen up, what he has to say could change the way you treat your own kids too.
It would be enough that Colfer has given the world a tender and moving portrayal of glee club member Kurt Hummel's slow move from closeted gay teen to out loud and proud. But now that he has opened up even more about what it was like to grow up as a gay kid in Clovis, California, the actor has given a real gift to American parents.
As Colfer said of how he reacted to being bullied recently:
For most of my adolescence I was in my bedroom writing or watching things I shouldn't be watching on TV, such as Nip/Tuck. And I was obsessed with superheroes. I had this thing where I wanted to be rescued. The other kids wanted to be Superman, but I thought Lois Lane kind of had the best deal.
Hear that parents? Holing up in his room watching TV and writing turned out to be the best things for him -- not only did he get the role on Glee, but Struck By Lightning, the movie Colfer wrote, has been picked up by a production company.
Even as the attitude toward bullying changes in America, I've noticed parents have a pretty one-size-fits-all approach to their kids. We want them to get out there, have fun, mingle! I'm sure you've heard one of those parents moaning that "Little Johnny doesn't play with others."
I wish I could say that getting rid of the bullies would fix everything and turn kids into social butterflies. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. Having been in those kids' shoes, I know what it's like to hide away, to sink into the shadows. Even when the bullying lessens, the fear remains. Once bitten, twice shy and all that.
But as Colfer shows in his actions, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Kids CAN spend a lot of time on their own, and still be OK. Just look at him.
Parents, go ahead, fight against the bullies. Help your kids find safe places. But listen to them too -- if being alone is what they want, remember that's a valid choice too.
Do you have a loner kid? Is it by choice or by fear?
Image via Fox