Advice for Kids: How to Stand Up to Bullies
Bullying is a terrible thing - not just for the person that is being bullied but for their loved ones. It is especially hard for the loved ones because, sometimes they do not find out until long past the event and then suddenly everything makes sense. The reasons behind changes in behaviour, appetite, sleeping patterns, the silence and the mood swings become clearer and then the guilt and questions come.
My experiences of bullying are nothing compared to some of the harrowing stories that I hear and I have heard, but that does not mean I was not scarred by my experience. It is the same for everyone. No matter what it is whether it be racist name-calling or constant beatings, bullying is awful and all must be done to make sure that people know where to turn and how to stand up for themselves.
This article is aimed at helping people become stronger in themselves, not just to help deal with the bullies but also to help build self-esteem that they can take with them for the rest of their lives. I am not saying that by following the steps here, that everything will be okay and that you will not need further support. Far from it.
What I would like to do is to give some advice that can be built upon that will provide those being bullied a foundation. As a wise man once said (and I will keep saying it because I am of the school of thought that, if it is worth saying, it is worth repeating!), a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. I hope that this really helps those out there find the courage that they need to stand up to these cowards because that is what a lot of them are.
- First and foremost, talk to someone. It may be a teacher, it may be a parent, it may be a counsellor even your doctor. Bullies sometimes thrive on the fact that their victims will keep quiet about what is happening to them and it is this silence that gives them a lot of their power. By talking to someone even briefly, this will help to alleviate some of the pressure and put things into perspective for you and for those around you. I did not really talk to anyone about it because I felt like there was too much going on in their lives without my problems. So one day I mentioned to my (younger) brother that I was having some problems. Now my brother is a great great guy, a man of few words but of action. He was charismatic and surrounded by legions of friends won over by his smile and confidence. Anyway, I told him and forgot about it. Then one day, as I was getting hassled in the playground, he happened to be nearby and saw what was going on. He sauntered over with his mates for a 'quiet word' with the bullies. Let's just say I did not have any trouble after that.
- Many people who are being bullied are sometimes afraid to get others involved especially their parents because when the bullies are confronted by the authority figure and then 'release' them that things will the same if not worse for them. This may be the case...or it may not, but you have to try.
- Try and get the bullies on their own. If you notice, bullies tend to hang around in pairs or in group with a 'leader' in charge. The followers just tend to follow their lead. If you get them on their own, you will find that they just crumble, the leader even more so. Many of them have problems e.g. broken homes, esteem issues and this is the only way that they know how to express themselves. They build themselves up by knocking other people down. Their posse also helps them have a sense of power, confidence and belonging. But this power does not last or is severely weakened when they are alone. Conversely, if possible try and make sure that you are not alone all the time. There is nothing bullies like more than a loner. That extra support will give you a boost.
- Whatever you do, do not change yourself just because they asked you. I mean bullies do not need a reason to be nasty. If you change one thing, they will just find another thing to pick on. If you continue to give in, you will wake up one day and realise that you have turned into someone that you did not want to be. Bullying will do that. They may say that resistance is futile, but I beg to differ. It may not be easy but it is not impossible.
- Do something that you love - it could be anything from watching your favourite show to playing a sport. That good feeling you get from doing the things that you are passionate about will help to you. The bullies love nothing better than someone is lacking in confidence. Finding a hobby will not only help to take your mind off things (because it can be all consuming) but release those feel good hormones and help you become a little more confident in yourself.
- If you really want to, join a self defence class and learn some basic techniques. Now I say this with a degree of caution. This does not mean that you go and start beating people up without reason. Doing that puts you on the same league as the bullies. And it is illegal. But learning how to defend yourself is important especially if you have been subjected to heavy physical bullying. Check to see if there are any classes in your area.
There are some of you who may be shocked that I have not included the whole 'ignoring the bullies when they start taunting you' rule in this article. There is a reason for this. A lot of the time, bullies get a rise out of getting a reaction so ignoring them is a great ploy. However, sometimes it can only make them do more extreme things. Try and gauge what will work best because people are different although how bullies operate is pretty much the same. I know there are some things that I may have missed so please either leave a comment or feedback or better still write a factoid about it :)
Thanks for helping us and God bless you readers and writers...