I was browsing through the PTN chat box and discovered that one of our (teen) visitors is being bullied. Here's an important set of information from www.stopbullying.gov about bullying and what (bullied) teens can do about it.
What is Bullying?
Bullying is a widespread and serious problem that can happen anywhere. It is not a phase children have to go through, it is not "just messing around", and it is not something to grow out of. Bullying can cause serious and lasting harm.
Although definitions of bullying vary, most agree that bullying involves:
- Imbalance of Power: people who bully use their power to control or harm and the people being bullied may have a hard time defending themselves
- Intent to Cause Harm: actions done by accident are not bullying; the person bullying has a goal to cause harm
- Repetition: incidents of bullying happen to the same the person over and over by the same person or group
Types of Bullying
Bullying can take many forms. Examples include:
- Verbal: name-calling, teasing
- Social:spreading rumors, leaving people out on purpose, breaking up friendships
- Physical: hitting, punching, shoving
- Cyberbullying: using the Internet, mobile phones or other digital technologies to harm others
An act of bullying may fit into more than one of these groups.
How to Deal with Being Bullied
If you have been bullied, it may affect you in many ways. You may not want to go to school or may find it hard to do your homework. You may be losing sleep, eating more or less than usual, having headaches or stomachaches, or getting sick more often. Know that you do not have to feel this way.
Your Feelings are Important
- Do not blame yourself. It is easy to question whether you are the problem. But no matter what someone says or does, you should not be ashamed of who you are or what you feel.
- Be proud of who you are. No matter what they say, there are wonderful things about you. Keep those in mind instead of the disrespectful messages you get from the people who are bullying you.
- Do not be afraid to get help. Sometimes it helps to just talk to someone who is not personally involved. Teachers, counselors, and others are there to help. Seeing a counselor or other professional does not mean there is something wrong with you.
What to Do When You Are Being Bullied
The first priority is always your safety. Here are some strategies for you to consider:
- Tell them to stop.
- Walk away. Do not let them get to you. If you walk away or ignore them, they will not get that satisfaction.
- Protect yourself. Sometimes you cannot walk away. If you are being physically hurt, protect yourself so that you can get away.
- Tell an adult you trust. Talking to someone could help you figure out the best ways to deal with the problem. In some cases, adults need to get involved for the bullying to stop.
- Find a safe place. Go somewhere that you feel safe and secure like the library, a favorite teacher’s classroom, or the office.
- Stick together. Stay with a group or individuals that you trust.
- Find opportunities to make new friends. Explore your interests and join school or community activities such as sports, drama, or art. Volunteer or participate in community service.