Did you know that 1 in 7 students in grades K-12 are either a bully or a victim of bullying? Or how about the fact that 90% of 4th – 8th graders report being victims of bullying. If you’re being bullied, you’re not alone.
Sometimes we’re bullies to our own friends and don’t even realize it. You have a group of friends and everyone is mad at one for some reason and you ostracize that person from your group. You say mean things, you make them feel left out on purpose, you see them coming and make it a point to show them that you’re ignoring them. A week or so later you all become friends again and are on to being mad at the next person. This is bullying.
Let’s talk about exactly what Bullying is:
The dictionary defines bullying as, “someone who keeps doing or saying things to have power over another person.”
What is bullying?
Ways people bully are name calling, saying/writing nasty things about another, making them feel left out of activities on purpose for malicious reasons, making a noticeable point to not talk to them, making someone feel uncomfortable or scared, taking/damaging their belongings, making people do something they don’t want to do. Hitting, kicking, knocking things out of one’s hands, pushing, shoving, etc. are also bullying.
There are a lot of reasons why someone bullies. They may see it as a way to be in control when many things in their world are spiraling out of control. Others may bully because they feel it makes them popular or they think others find it funny and they are trying to entertain. Some bullies bully because that’s the only way they can get attention. It could also be because they are jealous of the person they’re bullying. They may be getting bullied themselves and so they bully others that they perceive as weaker. Some bullies don’t even understand that they’re bullying or how the person they bully truly feels.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE BEING BULLIED:
1. Do Not Fight Back!
It can be hard, and some may tell you to fight back, but it’s never the answer. If you give in to a bully and fight back, you may get in trouble instead of the bully! Don’t bully a bully, because in the end you become a bully yourself.
2. Tell The Bully To Stop And Calmly Walk Away.
Believe it or not, this can be very effective. Practice with a friend, an adult, or with yourself in a mirror on things you can say. Practice saying it in a firm and direct way with confidence in your voice. Believing in yourself and telling others what you think can earn you respect and encourage others to stand up for themselves as well.
3. Tell An Adult.
Many times we fear telling someone because we don’t want to look weak or feel embarrassed. It may be scary at first, but an adult can help stop the bullying and make things better. If the person gets in trouble, that’s their problem because it was their fault for bullying. Not yours!
4. Know It’s Not Your Fault.
No one deserves to be bulliedEVER! No matter what is going on in your life, being bullied is not your fault. Either try to stop it with the above tips or with the help of an adult. Don’t ignore the problem and hope it will go away. Bullies bully because they can. Make it so they can’t.
5. Be STRONG!
Bullies like upsetting people because it makes them feel powerful. Be in control so that the bully isn’t. Confidence and having good self-esteem will help, but even if you don’t feel that way in the moment, acting like you do will help. Others can’t tell how you’re feeling or what’s going on in your head unless you show them. Even faking confidence and acting like you aren’t afraid will help the situation, and maybe next time you won’t need to fake it. You may find that you’re pretty good at handling bullies and are able to help others when the bully finds their next victim.
We’re all in this together, let’s start acting like it. Always keep in mind,
“If you don’t have anything nice to say to someone, then don’t say anything at all.”
If you’re ever feeling alone and that the bullying is too much, or you find that you’re a bully and don’t know how to stop, call TheHopeLine 1.800.394.HOPE (4673). You don’t have to be in this alone. Trained HopeCoaches are a phone call away and can help you, and help you help others.
Never forget the Golden Rule:
“Treat others the way you would want them to treat you.”
Be nice to each other. You don’t know what the other person is really going through.
–> Tell me what you have to say about bullying. Tell me your thoughts, encouragement and advice for those being bullied, your personal story with bullying, and kind words to encourage someone to stop being a bully.