You’re never too old to be bullied (but now we’re doing something about it)

Post from Kim:

I’m guessing there isn’t a person reading these words that hasn’t had a run in with a bully. Growing up, those bullies were in the school yard and had to confront us face to face.

In the 2nd grade a group of girls called me over to their game of four square. One girl looked to her friend and commanded, “Tell her.”
“Tell me what?” I asked.
“We all hate you. Now go away,” the ringleader snarked.
I asked why, and the girl said, “Just because.”

I kept it together and did what any girl of eight years would do: I ran to the bathroom and cried. I remember what I was wearing, a Rainbow Brite t-shirt and yellow shorts. The shorts were recently stained from where my “Fox and the Hound” tin lunchbox leaked on my lap. The memory is still vivid enough to sting.

There were other times: Like when I was in 6th grade and a girl pushed me into a locker. “Just because.”  Again, I gathered myself. I went to the bathroom. Then, I cried.
The guy who always called me, “porker.” When I got mono and lost 15 pounds — he then called me “HIM” instead of Kim because my voice is so deep.

I know there are far, far worse stories out there. Heartbreaking stories.

Then yesterday, a post was written about my family. Here’s the link in case you want to read.
I read the whole thing (it’s surprisingly long). I went to the bathroom — but this time I didn’t cry. I got pissed.

Here, in front of me, was another bully — but this bully wasn’t powerful enough to push me into a locker or call me a name to my face. This bully wrote an entire post without even contacting us .. just put it online. I bet if this woman saw me in the grocery store with my family, she wouldn’t have the nerve to say these things to my face. I’m 38 years old and sick of being bullied. I’M DONE.

Several sympathetic friends reached out saying, “don’t worry, people are defending you in the comments” and “Don’t dignify this post with a response.”
Then I realized I by NOT commenting, I was letting this cyber-bully win.
I tried to make a comment to the actual post — but it was never approved. Hmmm… Well, here’s my comment:

“On the other side of your hateful words sits a real family, with real struggles, and real feelings.  We realize by posting videos online we open ourselves to this critique. The beauty of the internet is this: IF YOU DON”T LIKE IT, DON”T CLICK.”

Everyone is entitled to their opinions. We leave even the negative comments on the YouTube page, that’s how much we believe everyone deserves to be heard. But this isn’t sharing an opinion with your friend at carpool or a cocktail party, this is bullying.

Some advice was given to me; I was told to say a prayer for the bully. I did that — then got upset with myself for spending time on a prayer for this person when there are so many families that need the positive energy.
So here’s the thing that has brought me peace with this bullying experience: We have made a $500 donation to Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center charity in the name of Jezebel (the site that published the post).

I encourage you to talk to not only your kids, but your friends about cyber-bullying. After all, this hate was coming from an adult.

UPDATE: I’m moved my the support and donations to bully prevention charities. Thank you! But let’s agree that sending hurtful messages to the person who wrote the article is not advancing the situation. Thank you again for your kind words and support.

140 thoughts on “You’re never too old to be bullied (but now we’re doing something about it)

  1. Your videos bring a smile to my face, and I admire you for even trying to shrug hurtful comments off. It’s so easy to get caught up in the anonymity of the internet and forget that you are talking about real people with real feelings. We’re all in this together, and people tend to forget that. Just wanted to let you know that I support you!


  2. I am going to use this as an example with my 5th graders as I continue to teach my students about preventing/handling bullying and cyber-bullying. Thank you for sharing this. Kid President quotes, “Bullying the bullies only makes more bullies.” You handled it graciously. You all are hilarious and brilliantly creative.. Keep bringing the awesome to the internet!


  3. Haters gonna hate; hate people who have talent, hate people who are attractive, hate people who can laugh at themselves, and hate people who are comfortable in their own skin. Don’t you dare stop entertaining us because someone who also has the ability to post their opinion on the internet doesn’t appreciate all you have to offer.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I “liked” Jezebel a while ago and have on occasion read their articles, but this recent article is not interesting or relevant…it is simply mean. I will be UN-liking their page immediately. I do not support any form of bullying.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow I read what the person wrote and it was indeed mean and petty and pretty overall ridiculous! I hate that an adult would still act like a child bullying is bullying no matter how old you are. The person who wrote that sounds so bitter with their own life it just amazes me that they think people don’t see that. I for one am an optimistic person who tries to surround myself with upbeat happy positive people and your video’s are adorable. I am from Raleigh where a lot of people are fit and tan and we don’t have a problem with that. You guys keep up the great work. I have shared your video’s with many of my friends in New England where I am from and they love them as much as I do.

    Have a fabulous Monday! Margaret Worthen


  6. It is unfortunately the time we live in. A time where personal responsibility and consequences are a thing of the past.

    The internet has allowed people of all walks of life to truly voice their hate, jealously and opinions without the consequences. I would guess that the vast majority of all the haters on the internet would not say anything in person or if their real name and address was attached to every comment they make.

    There was a news segment a little while back where they tracked down some of these professional trolls who post vicious and hateful comments every day. They were low income, living in a basement young people who thought it was all a joke. When they had a camera put in their face, they were no longer openly mean to people.

    What stands out most about that particular post is the amount of time that went into writing it. They are obviously a person that is looking for attention. Who gets their kicks from people agreeing with them and ‘liking’ something they have done. They are insecure and have real life problems. If anything, they should be pitied.

    I have been active on the internet since 1993. These last 5 years I have struggled online. I used to feel I could contribute to something, however I started to realize that no one was listening anymore and the internet had been taken over by lazy, hateful, close-minded people who spend all day screaming their opinions at everyone.

    Keep doing what you do.. a lot of people love your family and videos.


  7. You are an amazing person for the way you handled this. I can’t even imagine what this person could have said about you, but not curious enough to look it up, I’d rather watch another one of your families funny videos! Keep up the good work! Love you guys, who wouldn’t???


  8. The person running the Jezebel blog is nothing but atypical Internet Troll. That thanks to the First Amendment. Is protected, to allow them to attack others. It goes to show that some people do not ever grow up. Either this person was one of those that was a bully in school and never grew out of it. Or they were abused as a child and now have such a hatred against everything. They feel that it is fine in their mind and eyes to attack everything they can.

    The sad thing is that they attack everything and anything it appears. The blog is the Internet version of the Westboro Church.


  9. I too tried to comment back to the original post with no success. Here is what I wrote:

    “​I think you are being a bit too critical and perhaps even a bit jeleous. I myself am a high school teacher and we saw this at our beginning of the year staff meeting. If you watch the video to the end you will see it is actually a big thank you to all the teachers out there. We (the entire staff who watched it) really enjoyed the video. As for the other videos this talented family has posted…if you don’t like it, don’t watch them! Relax and move on with your life. Stop bashing others for their creativity.”

    As mentioned, I’m a teacher and truly thank you for your awesome thank you to teachers with your creative video. It touches both parents and teachers. I have sense watched many of your other videos and have been blessed with many laughs. I just love Penn. Through this small glimpse into your family I have witnessed him be a great example of what a father/husband should be like. Great work Penn! For all of you, keep dancing and singing, it is great to see family fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You guys are famous and loved here in BRAZIL.
    If you were what this miserable woman is saying, no one would care about you and your lovely family.

    I watch all of your videos, and I recognize myself and my family in most of them.

    Please, don´t stop bringing these awesome and precious moments to your followers.

    I´m glad that you are making a campaign against cyberbulling, it´s such an important thing to do.

    Love you, guys!


  11. I read their post and I wanted to reply but in the end I think that’s all they want, is attention. I love your family videos and look forward to new ones. I love that you give your children the choice to be in them or not. Sharing our lives with strangers is a given with the internet…even on blogs. Be strong Holderness family, don’t let a rotten bully bring you down!


  12. I think you are hilarious, creative, and talented. I don’t understand people. If you don’t like something, don’t watch it. Bullies have to bring others down to make themselves feel better.


  13. Wow, I can not even believe someone spent that much time criticizing a funny video you all made. First of all when I read the post about your family I felt sorry for the person who wrote it. They obviously have enough hate in their heart to overcome any positivity. Also they sound like they are very jealous of your “pageant parenting” as they put it. All I see are two very successful, motivated and funny parents. To have your child do a marathon is awesome! To finish one yourselves even better. Keep up the awesome work. My 3 year old son just watched the Baby got Class video 3 times and laughed every time. Thanks for such a positive look at parenting. I also enjoyed your FoodBabe video as well. So insightful!


  14. Penn and Kim, I started a blog in 2005 on blogspot called Clueless in Carolina. I am adopted and both my adopted sister and I adopted two children. Mine are from China and here are from Guatemala. I discussed some of the sadness of adoption… Rejection by the family that created you. Some lunatic read it and suggested that I would be better off dead. Said it was too bad that infertility wasn’t fatal. Too bad I couldn’t be retroactively aborted. Then she called my ten year old daughter Madeleine snaggletoothed. I could not stand it. I raced my ten year old to the orthodontist.

    Now I hate “inspirational” stories but well, this one is too good. When Madeleine was 13 I brought along my 11 year old daughter Meredith who had already completed 3 years of braces, but her regular orthodontist had taken them off till,her permanent teeth came in. Since then I had gotten into the EXTREMELY popular program at the Medical University of South Carolina. An orthodontic professor does the work and uses the x-rays as teaching aids. It’s half the cost of private orthodontists too—–I highly recommend it! Every orthodontic school has a clinic. 2-4 year waiting lists at some.

    Well, anyway, I asked the ortho professor if she would take a look at my 11 year old as a favor. I made a quick trip to the payment desk and came back and the Dr. already had my kid in the 360 degree X ray machine! Turns out that the professor, Chinese herself, recognized that my kid’s lower jawbone was growing way too fast. She slapped those braces on and pulled some teeth and did some strategizing with the entire ortho faculty and just last month Meredith got her braces off for good.

    If Dr. Jo had not intervened when she did, Meredith would have had to have her jaw broken and a piece removed and more years of braces when her jawbone matured at 16. Now she is an 8th grader who has gorgeous straight teeth after six years of wires and appliances and hooks and is good to go!

    I shouldn’t have, really, but I sent a picture of my oldest flashing her grin to the “person” who called her snaggletoothed. I received two more comments suggesting the world would benefit if I died. Whatever. I am thinking of starting the blog up again but can’t seem to find a designer who doesn’t want $1000 to do a few touch ups to a plain old blogger design. Eventually I will. I like to write.

    Anyway I love your videos, especially The Boyz Night Out. “You look just like my dad.” I recite that to my sexy handsome MATURE husband every chance I get. Keep them coming! I want to see Rappin’ Dads. So it cost $12.00 to park in RALEIGH? Ridiculous! It isn’t New York!!!!!!!



  15. But her sarcastic blog is no an attempt for attention and recognition? She sounds insanely jealous of your talents and opportunities, however irrelevant to her they may seem. (Ironically, they’re not at all, you’re just so much better at winning the internet than she is and sometimes when people can’t handle other people’s shine, they think dimming it will make theirs brighter. It doesn’t. It just highlights her insecurities and hers are VERY VERY LOUD.)


  16. i loved your post but i can’t believe i clicked the link to read their article. not only did it give them another tick on their traffic but, i really upset myself! b/c it has been so long since i’ve been confronted by such meanness, i’m shocked. they’re just mean to be mean – and to pick a fight.

    i have an 8 year old daughter who loves four square. i can’t imagine her being faced w/ a bully and i’m going to “up” my game there. good reminder.

    i think the name “jezebel” says it all, right? you have to have thick skin if you’re going to put yourself out there on the www. keep up the fun work!!


  17. Hey Kim! I live all the way over in Abu Dhabi and I honestly can’t even remember how I came across this site, but man am I glad I did. My husband and I wait for your videos and we BOND in the way we crack up over every little thing, and marvel at how you do it all as a family, wish our little girl had your kids for friends. We applaud how you took the risk of pursuing this career, so inspiring, so encouraging, so GOOD at what you do! I don’t even have to bother reading whatever was written about you, because I already know it’s nonsense. Just wanted to tell you your fans are truly all over the world, thanks to the beauty of the Internet, and DO NOT be discouraged. Keep making us laugh, you guys are AWESOME! (and very good looking all of you hehehehehe)


  18. Your family is beautiful and I am very saddened for the large amount of people who cannot bear to see others being happy and/or successful. I wish there was a way to help them… but some just live in their own spiral of hate. I agree with you when you said a prayer for them, they are the ones that need it the most… Even if it feels weird to do it.
    I cannot help but laugh, and still be a little upset at the fact that whoever wrote that article kept saying “white people this” and “white people that” (white people rapping, white people dancing, etc) … As a Puertorrican living in the USA, the whole race thing is a very sensitive subject for me- and I find it hurtful even when it has nothing to do with me. If other races are allowed to do something, why are whites not allowed? (So if whites can sing opera, blacks can’t? Seriously. And btw, you are not white, you are “tan” haha!! LOL!!! OMG). Again, seriously.
    You are all so gorgeous just shrug it off!! (easier said than done!!) As a fellow 35″ish” fit and tan (brunette) mom with two beautiful children and an even more beautiful husband, and a successful career, I say to you, YOU GO GIRL, YOU ROCK!!! I watched Iron Man again after your jammies video just to check you out in the movie!! Lots of love and blessings for your family from Hampton Roads, VA!!


  19. Seriously, your husband rapped about his vasectomy. How is that anything but awesome? My only complaint is that my 4 year old now insists our family needs to get matching Xmas jammies and dance in the front yard. So thanks for that. But really, ignore that article. That had nothing to do with your family, you guys are awesome. 🙂


  20. i think that your videos are the best the person who wrote all of that stuff is not a good mother and i cant belive people bullied you are so pretty. your kids are beautiful just like you.


  21. Kim and Penn-

    Keep doing what you guys are doing! I, for one, look forward to your videos and posts! They’re always entertaining and well put together! Look forward to the next one! Hope you guys are doing well!


  22. Here is my response the woman on Jezebel. Keep doing what you’re doing. The videos are great!!

    ​I was reading about the Holderness Family and I came across your post. You don’t think it’s ok to post “white rap video parodys” as you so pleasantly call them but it’s ok to bully people you don’t personally know? How is that ok? What are you teaching your kids? That it’s ok to to bully other people because you’re jealous of them?! How many times did you write that they “have dumb faces”? You are nothing but a coward jealous bully. You’re allowed to speak your mind but don’t blame the Holderness Family for your unhappiness. So what if they want to promote their business and came up with a clever way to do so?! Who cares that they change the words to rap songs?! Ever hear of Weird Al Yankovic???? He does that on every song he does!! And it’s brilliant and funny!! And he does that to promote himself and to make money. That’s the way of the world. It seems as though you’re just sorry you didn’t think of it first.


  23. Why people feel the need to say hurtful things about such a beautiful family is beyond me. I find it refreshing and positive to see a loving, successful family who takes time to make videos that are truly a joy to watch. They brighten my day and put a smile on my face, and for that, I thank you! Let the haters wallow in their misery. Don’t allow it to bring any despair to you or your loved ones 🙂


  24. Dang. I’m bummed out about the mean-spirited piece about your family in JEZEBEL. I just hope it won’t dim your light. Shine on, we need you:)


  25. It seems the old saying “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all” just doesn’t work in this crazy internet world we live in (and never really did before hand either). People feel so safe and secure behind their little computer screens. Every time I see a photo posted by someone I follow on Instagram (or any other social media site) there seem to always be hateful comments sprinkled in there and it drives me crazy! Why take so much effort and time to write something mean? As Taylor Swift would say, Haters gonna hate. I think y’alls videos are super fun! Keep it up! 🙂 Cheers!


  26. Pingback: The Holderness Family | What it all means | THE RANT

  27. People are allowed to share their feelings, and one person’s criticism of someone else’s YouTube video does not even reach the realm of comparison to any form of bullying, which can permanently damage people and ruin lives (and really, is everyone going to be your friend?) I’m not judging you or your family, but personally I thought your video’s were very self-absorbed and a total PR stunt, and Jezebel’s argument was valid. Are you above criticism? However, I don’t have a problem with you posting the video, but I think you went too far with this letter and donation (donate in your own name if you really care instead of pretending that this website moved you emotionally so much that you had to donate in THEIR name). This buddy-buddy, upper class “above everyone else” attitude is insulting and instilling it upon your kids is what’s ruining this generation


  28. OMG I think you guys are awesome and seem like the coolest people ever! You have a beautiful family and I love that you share your stories the way you do. FYI…I have been singing “your momma she told me don’t worry about the pies” and “I’m bringin butta back” for 2 days


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