Teresa Palmer is an Australian actress, writer and model best known for her roles in Warm Bodies, Lights Out and Hacksaw Ridge. She is the mother to two sons, 4-years-old Bodhi Rain and 2-year-old Forest Sage, and alongside her husband, Mark Webber, she has recently announced her third pregnancy.
Formerly a vegetarian, Teresa and her brood decided that veganism fitted best with their philosophy and views on the world.
But sadly, it’s these beliefs that have made her eldest son the target of some very nasty bullying from his peers at school.
At only four years of age, Teresa Palmer’s son Bodhi is already having to deal with school bullies because of the types of food he eats (or chooses not to eat, as is the case).
“I felt like crying for him”
On her parenting blog, Your Zen Mama, the 32-year-old actress recently wrote that Bodhi once had a hot dog shoved into his eye during an altercation at school.
“Bodhi was so upset that he had to dig meat out of his eye,” she said.
“He is a passionate vegan (much more so than any of us) and he kept talking about it being a part of a pig. I immediately tensed up and felt my emotions running high.
“I felt like crying for him.”
What an awful thing for a child to experience!
Despite being devastated by what happened, Teresa says she managed to keep her emotions in check for Bodhi’s sake.
“I told him that if something like this happened again he needed to use his words, tell the child that he doesn’t like that and go and tell his safe adult what has happened,” she said.
Teresa wanted to emphasise to her son that what happened was no reflection on him, and encouraged him not to take it personally. In doing so, the point Teresa was trying to make to her son was that an individual’s actions are a display of their own personal failings or struggles, and not their victim’s.
Obviously, it can be a terrifying and overwhelming experience for any child to encounter a bully and according to Teresa, it’s important to equip children with tools to use in the future.
This includes giving children the confidence to say “no”, and to share any incidents with their “safe adult” – whether they’re a family member, teacher, babysitter or another carer – is essential.
Teresa says normalising those big feelings with our children can also assist them with realising that they are not to blame for whatever may have happened.
“I want Bodhi to understand that he is not alone. Sometimes when children have really big feelings they don’t know how to react and they can make hurtful choices,” said Teresa.
We really hope this incident was the last for dear little Bodhi, and that from now on he may be respected for all the personal beliefs he holds. What a gift Teresa is giving her sons, by not only allowing them to talk about their feelings but encouraging them to do so, too. And who knows, maybe if more little boys felt comfortable talking about their feelings there would be less bullying in the first place.