Bullying is a serious issue that can happen anywhere at anytime. Bullying can cause serious damage physically and psychologically to others that can last for years to come. The problem can begin with a power struggle, lead to intentional stress of another individual and develop into a repeated occurrence to drain the power from the victim. Bullying is not limited to verbal abuse (name-calling or teasing), but can be in the form of social abuse (rumors or alienation), physical abuse (punching, hitting or shoving), or cyber-bullying (sending cruel instant or email messages or even posting insults about a person on a website). Bullies tend to pick on individuals because of someone’s appearance and social status, such as race, religion, or sexual preference.
“Studies show that between 15–25 percent of U.S. students are bullied with some frequency (“sometimes or more often”) while 15–20 percent report that they bully others with some frequency (Melton et al., 1998; Nansel et al., 2001).” “Children and youth who are bullied are more likely than other children to be depressed, lonely, anxious, have low self-esteem, feel unwell, and think about suicide (Limber, 2002; Olweus, 1993).” “Guys and girls who are bullied may find their schoolwork and health suffering” according to Kids Health.
Ways to deal with bullies:
- Walk away and ignore the bully. This approach may sound hard to do, but the bully is looking for a response and a reason to attack. Leaving the situation takes away the stimulus.
- Maintain your temper. Do not respond to the aggressor with anger. Keep calm and make yourself out to the better person.
- Don’t get physical. If you hit the person, the bully may claim “self-defense”. One hit can lead to a fight and more damage than necessary. If the person hits you, only block. Protect yourself by not responding to their lines of attack.
- Practice confidence. You are your own person. Be proud of who you are and what you will do in life. A bully is self-conscious and needs a way to put fear and stress upon someone else to make that person feel as low as he/she is. See your future and own it. Know how to stand up for yourself without having to destroy someone else.
- Be in charge of your own life. Make your own decisions. Believe in yourself. Know what you want to do, how you will do it, and why you want to do it. Ignore those that will hinder your goals. Listen to yourself and your own dreams.
- Reach out and talk to others. Teachers, counselors, and friends know how to cope, prevent and listen to what you are going through. The only way that you can find a solution and relief is by letting someone know what you are dealing with. It does not make you weak. In fact, it can only make you stronger. Breaking the silence can bring strength, resilience, and self-confidence.
- Hold on to your true friends. Friends do not need anything from you except your smile and your companionship. Friends will not put you down, lead you to dangerous activities, or ask you to do something against your morals. Friends know you inside and out. These are the people you need in your life. The others are better left out with the trash.