Bullying can exist in many forms. It can be physical (hitting, pushing, or punching), verbal (name-calling or threatening), or emotional (spreading rumors or excluding someone from an activity). When it becomes physically or verbally aggressive, it can be dangerous. On the other hand, when it’s emotional, it can be isolating. Being bullied can be a scary, hurtful, and confusing experience.
If you are being bullied, remember this — you are not alone, and it’s not your fault. There are also things you can do to help yourself or anyone you know who is a target of bullying:
Be confident and stay calm
If someone is being mean to you and saying hurtful things, stay calm and simply tell them to stop. Simple phrases like “Leave me alone” or “That wasn’t nice” will send a signal to the bully to stop their behavior. Also, being nice to them might throw them off their tracks.
Bullies will try to put you down at any chance they are given, so don’t let their words hurt you. Hold your head up high. Be brave, even though some days you might not feel it. Try and think of everything you do well and hold onto how valuable that makes you.
Keep out of the bully’s way
If you are afraid of running into a bully, avoid places where they might hang out. You can also change the route you go on to and from school, so they are not waiting for you.
Travel in pairs
Ask a friend to walk with you to and from school, the mall, or work. Bullies feel empowered to corner you when you’re alone, so having a friend of group of friends will make them keep their distance.
Tell someone you trust
Even though it can be frightening to be bullied, don’t be embarrassed to tell your parents, teachers, or friends. They will do everything to help you and make you feel safe. Make sure to tell them everything: who is bullying you, how long it’s been happening, and how it makes you feel.
Remember that most bullies are in pain too
The reason bullies pick on other kids is because they are, most likely, in pain as well. You don’t know what they’re going through and how they’re feeling. Just remember that they’re a kid just like you and might be hurting. As a result, they can sometimes turn that hurt outwards to the people in their lives.
Don’t respond to online bullies
Responding to online bullies with harsh words or threats will only aggravate them more. This could actually make bullying worse, especially if the bully goes to school with you. Just ignore their comments on your posts or flag them with your parents or school administrators.
Delete accounts where you are bullied
Delete your accounts if you are constantly being bullied by the same person. If you don’t want to delete it, make it private so no one can comment on your posts. Being in control of your accounts will allow you to hinder bullies from cyber bullying you.
With the help of a trusted adult, dealing with a bully will help build confidence and prevent a difficult situation from escalating. In many schools, there are already anti-bullying or anti-violence programs in place as part of the school curriculum. If you do not have a trusted adult (at home or at school) whom you can turn to, please check out these resources:
Bullying. Government of Canada. (March 3rd, 2019). Accessed July 30th, 2020 via https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/bullying.html
Bully Prevention. Dare to Care. (2018). Accessed Aug 2nd, 2020 via https://www.daretocare.ca/
Canadian Bullying Resources Online. OSSTF/FEESO- Protecting and Enhancing Public Education. (2020). Accessed Aug 1st, 2020 via https://www.osstf.on.ca/en-CA/publications/research-studies/bullying/canadian-bullying-resources-online.aspx
Safe Schools: What do I need to know? Ontario- Ministry of Education. (May 22nd, 2013). Accessed Aug 1st, 2020 via http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/safeschools/need.html
Welcome to PREVNet- Canada’s authority of Bullying. PREVNet- Promoting Relationships & Eliminating Violence Network. (2019). Accessed July 30th, 2020 via https://www.prevnet.ca/