Those who have never been bullied before are less likely to understand the grave affects it can have on someone’s life. This is especially true for kids and teens as they are not yet equipped with the ability to handle negative matters on their own. Bullying has been known to leave kids feeling alone, hurt, upset, and even depressed. Today, there are campaigns and programs that strive to stop the bullying and to help those who have been bullied. Taking the proper steps to eliminating this negative behavior and reconciling the child’s feelings is very important.
Bullies Target Specific Individuals
While it is not fair to be picked on, bullies generally have an ideal person that they will target. Studies have shown that about 25% of school aged children are bullied on the daily basis. Bullies are known to target those that are “different” from the rest. For most victims, it is their physical appearance or social status that gets them victimized. This could be a result of the way you dress, who you talk to, how you act in school, your sexual orientation, and even your race or religion.
This can be very damaging to teens and children who are learning their own independence. It makes them feel unworthy and alone. While the reasons for targeting specific individuals are not justified, the moment you’ve been bullied you should:
- Never blame yourself
- Continue to be yourself and love it
- Report the incident to an adult you trust
“Children should be able to live a life free from bullying and harassment and it is time that we all took a stand against this.” – Katherine Jenkins
Advice for Overcoming and Dealing with Bullying
Unfortunately there is no guide book that you can pick up that will show you how to deal with all bullies as each situation is different. There are some methods that could work and it may just take a bit of trial and error to figure out which methods are best for you. These tips should help you get started in remaining controlled and staying true to yourself.
- Walk away from the bully – There is no need to feed into negativity as it will only make the problem worse.
- Protect yourself – If you’re in a fight or can’t seem to get away from the bully you should protect yourself from being harmed.
- Report the incident – the moment someone starts bullying you, it will need to be reported to a parent or teacher.
Change Your Attitude Towards Bullying
After the actual incident is over and has been reported you need to make sure that you don’t internalize the problem. By changing your attitude towards bullying you will have a better sense of self control.
- View it from the bully’s prospective – There is something wrong with the bully that they would feel the need to pick on you. While it might be hard, finding a way to empathize might do the trick.
- Focus on positive – When you begin to feel bad about the incident or yourself start thinking about positive things to change your mind set.
- Don’t try to control their behavior – It is not your job to control or correct the behavior of a bully, therefore you should not stress yourself out trying to. Instead, focus on ways you can react to the bully differently.
Tips for Educators and Parents on Bullying
It is important that parents and teachers work together to stop the bullying. Whether the parent’s child is the victim or the bully, recognizing the signs and stepping up will be important. The first thing to do is learn the signs of a bullied child:
If a child is:
- Having nightmares
- Increased feelings of fear, angry, or worry
- Complains of physical injuries consistently
- Isolates themselves from others
Once you’ve identified a child that has been bullied, the next steps are to stop the bullying in its tracks. In order to stop the bullying you will need to:
- Talk with the victim about bullying to try and relieve stress. Allow them to open up to you without passing judgment.
- Remove possible triggers. Some children are bullied because they have a cool cell phone; they have lunch money, or something else of extreme interest. If you can, eliminate this from the equation to cut down on the bullying.
- Find help. Whether the parent or the teacher is the one that identifies the bullied child it will be important that you get them support and help. Notify whomever you have to for support.
- Keep them from isolation. A bullied child will isolate themselves for fear of safety and lack of trust. It is important that you encourage them to be socially involved so that they don’t become depressed.
What to Do if Your Child is the Bully
Now this is a difficult issue for parents to cope with, but it is imperative that you do something if you know your child is being a bully to others. Allowing them to continue such behaviors could result in more problems for your child later on. These problems could include drug and alcohol use, acts of violence throughout their school, and higher chances of abusing others when older and going to prison.
It is important to remember that bullying is not something that a child knows instantly. It is a learned behavior that needs to be fixed. For parents who are dealing with a child that is a bully it may be ideal to monitor their television viewing, computer usage, and also be careful that you are not setting a negative example in your home. By setting a good example and learning to talk to your child you can change their negative behavior. Be mindful in talking about bullying, how it hurts their victims, and be ready to enforce consequences for such behaviors.
No parent wants to hear that their child is the bully or the victim, but it is important that they work together to make schools a safer place to be. Talking with teachers and other parents and working together as a team is the best way to combat such negative behaviors.
“Bullying is killing our kids. Being different is killing our kids and the kids who are bullying are dying inside. We have to save our kids whether they are bullied or they are bullying. They are all in pain.” – Cat Cora