I’m Being Bullied - What Can I Do?
If you are being bullied, you’re NOT alone!
Bullying is a serious problem, which is taking place in every school and every community in Canada!
If you are being bullied, we know how horrible you must feel. Many students who are bullied have trouble sleeping, focusing on school work and are afraid to go to school. NO ONE DESERVES TO BE BULLIED and THERE ARE WAYS TO MAKE THE BULLYING STOP.
Why am I being bullied?
Kids bully to get attention, to feel powerful or to make themselves feel better if they are feeling angry, sad or unaccepted. In fact, many kids who bully were once victims of bullying! Many of the most violent acts that have taken place in our schools are carried out by students who were once bullied!
When kids bully, they feel important and powerful because they often get the attention of other students. Kids who bully may have never learned how to deal with conflict peacefully – they may come from families where everyone deals with each other by shouting, name calling or hurting each other physically.
What can I do?
Unfortunately bullying won’t just go away on its own. Here are some things you can do that can help the bullying stop:
Take a stand
Standing up for yourself doesn’t mean fighting back or being aggressive. Instead do your best to STAY CALM and TRY TO APPEAR AS IF THE BULLYING WORDS OR ACTIONS AREN’T HURTING YOU. Look as calm and confident as you can.
We know this can be incredibly difficult, but kids bully to get a reaction from of those they are bullying. The more you react, the more they will continue to harass you. When you act assertively (and not aggressively) by telling them to stop or ignoring them and then walking away, over time they will lose interest in bullying you.
You may have to do this a few times, but eventually, once they sees they are having no effect on you, not getting attention or that their behaviour is not gaining respect from others, they will stop. You can also do your best to avoid those bullying. Stick with friends who treat you with kindness and respect.
Of course if the bullying becomes physical or the bullying gets to be too much for you to handle on your own. If this happens, get help from an adult as soon as possible.
If you are being bullied by a group of students this can be especially painful. We all want nothing more than to fit in and feel part of a group. Unfortunately in most cases, the more you try to join the group of students that is excluding you, the more they will push back and leave you out. As much as this hurts, again it’s important that you STAND UP FOR YOURSELF. If a group is leaving you out, it may be time to look for new friends. Who needs people who just make you feel bad?
Find out if there are school-run clubs or activities you can take part in over recess, lunch or after school. Look for another group of students playing together and ask if you can join them. Ask your parents if you can join an after-school club in your community. There are lots of ways to make new friends who won’t make you feel bad.
As with other forms of bullying, by ignoring those who bully, eventually they will stop. Kids treat others meanly to get a reaction and to get attention from their friends and bystanders. Once they see that you no longer care (or at least appear to no longer care) and can’t get a reaction from you they will stop.
Nobody deserves to be bullied. Even though you may be different others, remember it’s our differences that make people interesting. If we were all the same, life would be boring. Each and every student has something to offer. We’re all STARS in our own way!
So if you are being bullied, remember:
Try to hide your feelings and appear brave
Avoid or ignore the bully
React assertively (and not aggressively)
Stick with good friends
However, if the bullying gets worse or you are finding it difficult to manage on your own, no matter how hard you try, you need to get help from a trusted adult.
Talk to an adult you trust. It is every adult’s responsibility to help kids stay safe. Unfortunately there are times when some adults won’t believe you if you tell them you or someone else is being bullied, or they will tell you to solve the problem yourself. However there will be times when bullying problems need adult help. If you or someone else is being bullied, make a list of trusted adults you can go to help. Promise you won’t stop looking for help until you find it. Here are some adults you may be able to turn to:
the school principal or vice-principal
another teacher in your school
the school secretary
a lunchroom supervisor
the school guidance counsellor
an aunt, uncle or a grandparent
a daycare teacher or babysitter
If you aren’t ready or comfortable going to an adult, find someone you trust to talk to about what is going on. Tell a friend, an older student or a sibling. However, if the situation becomes very serious it’s important that you try and find an adult you trust to help you.
When you ask for help, tell them these things as clearly as you can:
Exactly what happened
When and how often it has happened
Where the bullying took place
Who was involved
Who else saw it happen
What action you have taken, if any
If you stay quiet about bullying, you won’t get any help! The truth is that bullying will never stop if no one stands up to those who bully, tries to help those being bullied or goes to an adult for help. If you go to an adult and they don’t believe you, find another adult you trust. Promise you will keep looking and asking for help until you find it.
Reporting about bullying is not ratting someone out. It’s very different. Learn about ratting and reporting here.