Bully-proofing Your Teens, Interview with Candice Dugger

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Bully-proofing Your Teens, Interview with Candice Dugger.

Bully-proofing Your Teens, Interview with Candice Dugger

Bully-proofing Your Teens, Interview with Candice Dugger

NOTE: This episode contains discussions about bullying, harassment and suicide. Sensitive listeners should listen with discretion. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

We are investing in National Anti-bullying Month with this interview with Candice Dugger. Many of you are familiar with Candice because of her work on the Reimagine Education Online Conference. You may also know her with her diligent work helping families find resources to deal with bullying. Her Bullied, Broken, Redeemed workshops and resources are popular in churches, homeschool organizations and businesses nationwide.

Vicki asked Candice if she could share with us about bully-proofing teens.

Candice Dugger Photo used with permission
Candice Dugger Photo used with permission

Candice genuinely cares about young people and their wellbeing.

She got started homeschooling in an unusual way.

It began with fear, anxiety and pain. Her kids had been in both public and private schools. When her oldest was in seventh grade, Candice noticed there was something wrong. He had gone from being a happy, joyful kid who liked school, to a child she did not recognize. He was withdrawn, angry and his grades were dropping. While he had some learning differences, they had always been able to stay on top of school success. So what was wrong? She discovered that bullying was overwhelming her son.

She realized that she needed to start homeschooling her son.

It took about six months for Candice to gather her resolve to start homeschooling. She had come from the corporate world but had been sick for several years. The illness caused her to slow down and truly see the pain her son was in. Then, at a school IEP meeting for her son, she watched the failure of the school to meet his needs. That was the breaking point. She said: “That’s it! We are homeschooling!”

Fortunately, the next week was the state homeschooling conference. She got training and resources there to start.

Candice feels that homeschooling truly saved her son’s life. As they have unpacked the true level of bullying her son experienced, she realized the pain of his experiences and have seen him healing. Bully-proofing Your Teens became an important journey.

She realized she had to help families around her who were upset over the bullying their children were experiencing. Some families reported elementary-aged students who had suicide plans because of the desperation they were feeling about the bullying they experienced. Candice started the organization Bullied, Broken, Redeemed.

When she started homeschooling some of her family was concerned about her ability to homeschool because of her poor health.

Candice is not one to be easily deterred, though. The first thing she did was “flip my son’s education on its head”. The schools had concentrated on his weaknesses. He began to see himself as defined by his weaknesses, this was dangerously compounded by the attacks of cyberbullying and in-person bullying at school.

So, instead of spending 80% of their time on his weaknesses, Candice spent 80% of their time focusing on what he could do well. She spent most of her day speaking life, value, and truth back into him. She surrounded him with things he could be good at: sports, history, wilderness and survival topics.

As he succeeded in these courses, his confidence grew and his healing from the damage of bullying progressed. By the time he finished eighth grade, he had blown through three years of high school history curriculum because he was believing in his own abilities.

They took it slow on areas of needed growth. For every ten successes he had, she introduced one topic in his areas of needed growth.

Now at 17, he is doing dual-enrollment courses. Traveling to colleges to earn D1-D2 sports scholarships. Attended, with his mom, to the World Conference of Christian Psychologists and Psychiatrists last October to collaborate with specialists on GenZ bullying. He has trained as a life coach to work with children who have been bullied.

Candice started Bullied, Broken, Redeemed because she found there were so few resources for parents. Her organization trains parents, teachers, students, organizations in bully-proofing, healing and actions to take if they find bullying.

Homeschooling provides a healing space for teens who have been bullied.

Here are some facts parents need to know about GenZ bullying:

  • There are different spaces where bullies bully:
    • Schools
    • Groups
    • Cyberspace
    • Gaming space
  • The bullying in the digital world often happens after 10:00pm at night
  • Children as young as elementary school ages are experiencing bullying (some to the point of suicidality)
  • The damage done to children can last a lifetime if they do not get the help they need

What can parents do to help bully-proof their kids?

Bullying can happen in so many places. We homeschooling families like to believe that we can totally protect our young people, but in her work as a counselor, Vicki has run into bullying incidents in social media and gaming groups, at church youth groups, in Scouting. Young people need to be aware of the possibility of bullying and the necessity of reporting this to their parents.

Parents can be sure to respond kindly with their young person, report it appropriately and give tools to their kids.

Join Candice’s Facebook group: Bullied, Broken, Redeemed

Find more resources at:

And more resources from Candice

Join Vicki and Candice for an encouraging discussion on bullyproofing and healing your teen. We will have Candice back for another episode where we will discuss ways homeschool and Christian groups can bullyproof their organizations.

Hey, even when our kids are graduated and grown, they are still our kids. However, the relationship must change. Here are some ideas to help you plan ahead for parenting and adult kids.

Join Vicki and Candice for an encouraging discussion on bullyproofing and healing your teen. We will have Candice back for another episode where we will discuss ways homeschool and Christian groups can bullyproof their organizations.


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Bully-proofing Your Teens, Interview with Candice Dugger

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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