NB: This is written in language format children can read and understand.
Bullying is a big problem which makes kids feel hurt, scared, sick, lonely, embarrassed and sad. Bullying might involve striking, kicking, pushing, threatending, teasing and scaring people. A bully might say mean things about someone, grab a kid’s stuff, make fun of someone, or leave a kid out of the group on purpose. Some bullies even try to make them do things they don’t want to do.
Bullying Is a Big Deal
- Bullying is a big problem that affects many kids. Many kids say they have been bullied which has made them feel ready bad.
- Bullying can make kids not want to play outside or go to school. It’s hard to keep your mind on schoolwork when you’re worried about how you’re going to deal with the bully. Bullying bothers everyone — and not just the kids who get picked on. Bullying can make school a place of fear and can lead to violence.
Why Do People Bully?
- Some bullies are looking for attention. They might think bullying is a way to be popular or to get what they want. Most bullies are trying to make themselves feel more important making them feel big and powerful.
- Some bullies come from families where everyone is angry and shouting all the time. They may think that being angry, calling names, and pushing people around is a normal way to act. Some bullies are copying what they’ve seen someone else do. Some have been bullied themselves.
- Bullies often pick on someone they think they can have power over. They might pick on kids who get upset easily or who have trouble sticking up for themselves. Getting a big reaction out of someone can make bullies feel like they have the power they want. Sometimes bullies pick on someone who is smarter than they are or different from them in some way. Sometimes they just pick on a kid for no reason at all.
Who Gets Bullied?
- Nearly everyone is bullied at some time in their lives: by brothers and sisters, by neighbours, by adults or by other children. If you are being bullied, you may feel scared, vulnerable and quite alone but you owe it to yourself to try and sort out the situation so that the bullying stops. Remember, no-one deserves to be bullied.
- It is surprising that all sorts of people who are now very successful adults were bullied when they were young. It is encouraging to know that it is possible to succeed, in spite of being tormented at school. All of these well-known people were bullied in some way at school – David & Victoria Beckham, Barack Obama, Jessica Alba.
- For some, the bullying went on for years; for others it was less frequent. All of them feel that bullying is wrong and that it was not their fault, but the fault of the bully looking for a victim.
What To Do When Being Bullied
- Tell a friend what is happening.
- Ask themto help you. It will be harder for the bully to pick on you if you have a friend with you.
- Try to ignore the bullying or say ‘No’ really firmly, then turn and walk away.
- Don’t worry if people think you are running away. Remember, it is very hard for the bully to go on bullying someone who won’t stand still to listen.
- Try not to show that you are upset or angry.
- Bullies love to get a reaction – it’s ‘fun’. If you can keep calm and hide your emotions, they might get bored and leave you alone. As one teenager said to us, ‘they can’t bully you if you don’t care’.
- It’s not worth getting hurt to keep possessions or money.
- If you feel threatened, give the bullies what they want. Property can be replaced, you can’t.
- 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 avoid him or her, do so.
- 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. How does a brave person look and act? Stand tall and you’ll send the message: “Don’t mess with me.” It’s easier to feel brave when you feel good about yourself. See the next tip!
- Feel good about you. Nobody’s perfect, but what can you do to look and feel your best? Maybe you’d like to be more fit. If so, maybe you’ll decide to get more exercise, watch less TV, and eat healthier snacks. Or maybe you feel you look best when you shower in the morning before school. If so, you could decide to get up a little earlier so you can be clean and refreshed for the school day.
- Get a buddy (and be a buddy). Two is better than one if you’re trying to avoid being bullied. Make a plan to walk with a friend or two on the way to school or recess or lunch or wherever you think you might meet the bully. Offer to do the same if a friend is having bully trouble.
- Try to think up funny or clever replies in advance. Make a joke of it. Replies don’t have to be wonderfully brilliant or clever but it helps to have an answer ready. Practice saying them in the mirror at home. Using prepared replies works best if the bully is not too threatening and just needs to be put off. The bully might just decide that you are too clever to pick on.
- Sometimes asking the bully to repeat what they said can put them off. Often bullies are not brave enough to repeat the remark exactly so they tone it down. If they repeat it, you will have made them do something they hadn’t planned on and this gives you some control of the situation.
- Keep a diary of what is happening. Write down what details of the incidents and your feelings. When you do decide to tell someone, a written record of the bullying makes it easier to prove what has been going on.
- Don’t show your feelings. Plan ahead. How can you stop yourself from getting angry or showing you’re upset? Try distracting yourself (counting backwards from 100, spelling the word ‘turtle’ backwards, etc.) to keep your mind occupied until you are out of the situation and somewhere safe where you can show your feelings.
- If you are being bullied, it’s very important to tell an adult you can trust what is happening to you such as teachers, principals, parents, and lunchroom helpers. Sometimes bullies stop as soon as a teacher finds out because they’re afraid that they will be punished by parents. This is not tattling on someone who has done something small — bullying is wrong and it helps if everyone who gets bullied or sees someone being bullied speaks up.
What Happens to Bullies?
- In the end, most bullies wind up in trouble. If they keep on bullying, sooner or later they may have only a few friends left — usually other kids who are just like them.
- Some kids who bully blame others. But every kid has a choice about how to act. Some kids who bully realize that they don’t get the respect they want by threatening others. They may have thought that bullying would make them popular, but they soon find out that other kids just think of them as trouble-making losers.