Bullying is hurtful, scary and confusing. When bullying is aggressive and physical, it can be dangerous. When it’s emotional – like name calling or cyberbullying – it’s easy to feel isolated.
There are two important things to remember if you are being bullied:
– It’s not your fault
– You are not alone
According to the organisations Kids Health and Stomp Out Bullying, you are not helpless against people behaving in a mean way.
Here are 10 tips on what you can do if you are being bullied:
1. Don’t give the bully a chance. As much as you can, avoid the bully. You can’t go into hiding or skip class, of course. But if you can take a different route and do other things to avoid the mean kid, do so.
2. Stand tall and be brave. When you’re scared of another person, you’re probably not feeling your bravest. But sometimes just acting brave is enough to stop a bully.
3. Get a buddy (and be a buddy). Two is better than one if you’re trying to avoid being bullied. If you walk to school, make a plan to walk with a friend, and be sure to sit with a friend during lunch. Always try to be in the company of a friend.
4. Ignore the bully. If you can, try your best to ignore the bully’s threats. Pretend you don’t hear them and walk away to a place of safety. Bullies want a reaction to their teasing and meanness so don’t give them that pleasure.
5. Don’t show your feelings. Don’t show your anger or that you’re upset. Try distracting yourself to keep your mind occupied until you are out of the situation and somewhere safe, where you can express your feelings.
6. Tell an adult. If you are being bullied, it’s very important to tell an adult. Find someone you trust and talk about what is happening to you. Teachers, principals, parents and even older siblings or cousins can all help.
7. Hide behind your protective shield. Visualise a tall shield. Build that shield around you and when it’s up, imagine that all the things the bully is saying are bouncing off that shield.
8. Conquer your bully and throw them off track by loudly saying “leave me alone” so that others can hear, and look them in the eye.
9. Be confident. Bullies lose their power if you don’t cower. Deep down, they doubt they deserve your respect. They admire you for speaking with confidence. So when they bombard you, don’t respond in a nasty way. Rather, win them over with your strong, firm, courteous demeanour.
10. Act quickly and consistently. The longer a bully has power over someone, the stronger their hold becomes. After the bully has tested a person and has confirmed that a victim is not going to tell an adult and stand up for their rights, the aggression worsens.
Every one of these suggestions might not work for you, but don’t give up hope when you try something and nothing happens right away. You have to keep at it, and stay consistent. You might also try combining several of the suggestions.
Remember that bullies are not invincible by any means. They are only as powerful as we allow them to be.