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What to do about Bullying

Bullying is a very real problem that affects many students.  Bullying can be very hurtful and frightening, and it can leave a person angry or depressed.  It should never be tolerated.

What is bullying?  Bullying is repeated, aggressive behavior that can be physical, verbal, or relational.  Boys who are bullies generally use physically aggressive actions and threats while girls who bully others often use verbal or relationship actions.   Some bullies use their computers to bully others; this is called cyberbullying.   If you are bullied, you might feel frightened, helpless, depressed, angry, ashamed, or guilty.  You might feel tempted to skip school or even feel suicidal.

What are the different types of bullying?  Physical bullying could take the form of hitting, kicking, pushing, stealing, ruining someone’s things, even making you do something you do not want to do.  Verbal bullying might include teasing, name calling, taunting, and so forth.  Relationship bullying involves things like refusing to talk to someone, excluding someone from a group, spreading rumors about someone, and making someone do something that they don’t want to do.

Why do bullies target other people?  There could be a number of reasons that people become bullies, such as because being  jealous of you, wanting to make themselves more popular, trying to look tough or feel powerful,  being bullied themselves, or trying to escape their own problems. 

Lots of kids get bullied so, if you are being bullied, you are not alone.  If you are being bullied you need to remember these things:

·         Don’t blame yourself because it is not your fault that someone is bullying you.

·         Be proud of who you are.  No matter what the bully says, there are lots of wonderful and unique things about you.  Keep those things in mind instead of dwelling on what the bully is saying.

·         Get help from a parent, a counselor, a teacher, or some other trusted adult.  They will know what to do to help you.

·         Find ways to deal with stress.  You might try things like meditation, exercise, muscle relaxation, positive self-talk, or breathing exercises to help you to deal with the stress that the bully is causing.

What should you do if someone is bullying you?

·         Walk away from the bully.  Bullies want to have control over your emotions and actions so, if you walk away or ignore them, you are showing them that they cannot control you.

·         Protect yourself if you can’t walk away.  Your safety is important.

·         Report the bully to a trusted adult.

·         Try to view the bully from a different perspective.  Maybe he or she is an unhappy, frustrated person that wants to control your emotions so that you are as unhappy as he or she is.  Don’t give them that satisfaction.

·         Focus on positive things.  Make a list of all of the things that make you happy and look at that list when you are feeling down.

·         Find the humor in the situation, if you can.

·         Find support from friends who are not bullies.  Spend time with others who share your interests and values.

·         Share your feelings with someone you trust.

·         Don’t beat yourself up about what is going on.  Try not to dwell on it.  Instead, you should focus on the good things.

If you want some more information to help you deal with a bullying situation, take a look at the website HelpGuide at http://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/dealing-with-bullying.htm.