What to do if you’re being bullied
When you’re dealing with bullying it can feel like there’s nothing you can do about it. You can convince yourself that trying to stop it might make things worse. If it’s happening in school, telling a teacher can seem like the last thing you want to do. Will your parents freak out and make a big fuss about it? Everyone has the right to live, work, study and play in an environment free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence. No one deserves or asks to be bullied and you certainly shouldn’t go through it on your own. Don’t forget that. There are things you can do about it.
Asking Someone for Advice
If you’re dealing with bullying – be it verbal, physical or online – it can really help to tell someone about it and ask for advice. That can seem difficult and will take a bit of courage but you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel just by getting it off your chest.
If whatever’s going on is scaring you, if you feel threatened or you think you might be in danger, telling someone else what’s going on is really important. Don’t keep it to yourself. You’re not giving in and there’s nothing wussy or weak about reporting it or asking for advice. Anyone would need help with that.
If it’s happening in school, think of a a teacher you trust to give you some advice or know how to handle it. Teachers and counselors are specially trained in these situations and it’s their job to help. Also, it’s good for them to know this is happening in the school because there might be other people going through it and they need to figure out how to prevent it. So think about it as helping other people. It’s understandable you might be worried your parent or guardian will completely explode if you say anything and run down to the school screaming their head off.
We can’t say it won’t happen, but remember they want to help, and they actually might. They’re also probably more clued in than you imagine, so explain to them if you don’t want them to do that. They could have suggestions you had never even thought of. Even if you don’t want them to do anything, it lightens the load, and that in itself is pretty good
Tips for Getting Help
- If you’re worried about speaking to someone, take a friend with you. If you don’t feel like you can talk about it out-loud or face-to-face, write it down or put it in an email.
- Talk to whoever you tell about what they’re planning to do. They might have a responsibility to act if they’re a teacher or counselor and they’re worried about your safety, so make sure you check with them. They should run all of this by you first. Be clear about what you want and don’t want to happen.
- If you don’t feel as if you’re being taken seriously, or if no action is taken, it doesn’t mean what’s happening is ok. You were right to bring it up. Tell someone else and keep at it until something changes.
Dealing with bullying can be really tough. It affects your self-esteem and your confidence, and can end up affecting your work and your relationships too. It’s really important to do something about it, and if you feel you need a hand dealing with the effects of it, speak to someone like a counselor to help you sort it out how you feel.
Working it out Yourself
Depending on how bad the bullying is (and as long as you aren’t feeling in danger or physically threatened) you might decide to try to work it out yourself.
Here are some ideas that might help with this:
Ignoring whoever’s trying to intimidate you or is giving you hassle can be really effective for verbal bullying. After all, they’re trying to get a reaction from you, so if you don’t give them one, they can get bored and give it a rest.
People who hassle other people usually set their sights on someone who seems nervous or unsure of themselves because they think they won’t stand up to them. Being confident about who you are can actually be your best defence. Even if you don’t feel it, as the not-so-old saying goes, “fake it ’til you make it”.
It can be hard to remember your good points when someone is doing their best to put you down. However, try to think of all the things you’re good at and proud of and stuff that makes you laugh. Some of the world’s brightest and funniest and most talented people get a hard time when they’re young. Remember this will pass, and loads of people get through it and go on to do amazing stuff with their lives.
Safety in numbers
You’re safer in a group, so hang out with other people when you can. If you’re by yourself and worried about being hassled or feel threatened, be aware of places nearby where there’ll be other people.
Keep out of their way
It might be possible for you to avoid whoever’s bullying you. This can mean travelling a different way to school, or avoiding the places they hang out. This isn’t giving in to them – just getting on with life and taking care of yourself without them getting in the way or wrecking your day.