This article was published on October 2nd, 2013
Bullying isn’t a new problem. It wasn’t just discovered recently. The problem has been around forever. What has changed in the last decade is the general level of tolerance of bullying. With large national campaigns like Pink Shirt Day, government legislation, school policies, media coverage, equal rights, the issue is front and centre.
Putting a stop to bullying is at the forefront of attention, especially after high profile teen suicides, including those of the likes of Amanda Todd, a Coquitlam, BC teenager who took her life after years of taunting and bullying.
Unfortunately bullying isn’t an issue that just comes to a close by telling kids to report any bulling activities to an adult. While it is one solution, it doesn’t solve the problem. It is definitely one of many actions that should be taken. It’s more important to understand what things a child can do for him or herself to reduce and alleviate the problem.
Bullies tend to pick on others who are weak or vulnterable. Their motives can range from wanting to put someone else on the spot, make someone feel uncomfortable, or attempt make themselves look or feel more powerful. This is an important part of understanding why bullying happens. Knowing why bullies act the way they do, allows the bullied person to make the bullies tactics less successful.
The most important thing a bullied person can do is to stand up for yourself. Yes, that’s right. Don’t allow someone else to take control of your emotions, power or feelings. That’s what they thrive on. Instead, use self-confidence to rise above to show your strength.
When a bulling situation occurs, remain strong and don’t let your fear show. No matter how hard it is, always look calm and in control. The moment the bully sees signs of weakness is when they being to take power.
Never let a bully know that you are scared or nervous. Bullies can leverage this to their advantage, especially in group situations.
Bullies are at their weakest when they realize that the person they are attempting to bully either stands up for themselves or doesn’t give them the satisfaction by showing weakness or giving them what they want. This is incredibly powerful for the bullied person. It’s being confident and in control.
It’s also key for bullied people to stick with people they can trust and are their friends. In school those friends may be peers who are older, like a mentor. Most schools have mentorship programs. Its incredibly powerful for bullied people to have older classmates to support them.
Additionally bullied kids should learn to focus on hobbies and skills that they are good at. This will also build their self confidence. While not everyone is good at team sports in school, it doesn’t mean that individual sports can’t be an option, where they can challenge themselves to do better by setting goals and tracking success along the way. Other things like creative arts, cooking, or music are other areas of interest which can increase self esteem.
Today, it’s most important to also understand the power of the internet and social media. If a child is being bullied on social networks immediately close all accounts. Being bullied on social media is so easy, but if there is no one to bully, then it’s one less way to let it happen. If bulling is coming by text, change the number and don’t give it out the new number; not even to suspected friends. When bullies can’t reach you, you can’t be bullied. Also never give out personal information such at your home address, photos of yourself, etc.
If you know someone is being bullied and it’s happening in the moment, stand up for the person. You don’t need to be a hero. Bullies hate being called out for their action. If a crowd is beginning to form encourage people to walk away with you. When there’s no audience the bully has no momentum. If it’s safe, take the bullied person with you and make them part of your team. Stand up and being a leader. Don’t stand by and let someone else be bullied. Bullies will always think twice if they know that the person has a network of supporters.
What tips and advice do you have for people who are being bullied? Leave your advice and comments below.