What to do if you are being bullied?
From expert Rosalind Wiseman – Creating Cultures of Dignity

What to do if you are being bullied:

Many kids who are bullied feel embarrassed and helpless. Sometimes, they think the only thing they can do is hope the problem will go away. But there are things you can do to get some control in the situation and it starts with developing a strategy and a support system.

The moment it’s happening:

• Breathe. Observe who is around. Breathe again.
• Ask yourself what the bully is doing that you want stopped and what you want them to do instead. I know this may sound obvious but take the time to do this and remind yourself that if you don’t like what they’re doing or saying to you, those you are your feelings and no one has the right to take your feelings away from you by saying you’re weak, they’re just messing with you, or they wouldn’t care if you did the same thing to them.
• If you can, find the courage in that moment to state what you want. For example, “Stop pushing me into the lockers and saying, “it was an accident” and then laughing. I know you can do whatever you want, but I want you to stop.” Or, “Stop sending texts to everyone in the grade about me.”
• Get away by thinking about walking towards safety not away from the bully. For example, walk towards a classroom where you can see a teacher you trust. If you are in a park, walk towards a group of adults or a coach.
• Don’t retaliate or threaten to retaliate. The only thing that happens when you do this is the problem gets bigger and more out of control.

If you are being bullied online:

Any time someone is bullied through social networking, a cell phone, or any type of social media, it can be really hard not to want to defend yourself by retaliating or finding out why this person is attacking you. Sleeping with your phone in your bedroom is never a good idea, but it’s even worse when you’re bullied online because it’s too tempting to stay up all night trying to “fix” the situation—which isn’t going to happen on-line. Same thing goes with a computer. Sleep is hard anyway when you know people are saying mean things about you, but it’s impossible if you’re checking Facebook, Twitter, and your texts all night. If you need a distraction, find a way to listen to music that calms you down (that’s not on your phone) until you can fall asleep.

After the bullying has occurred:

Remember that reporting a bully is not snitching. People snitch when all they want to do is get the person in trouble. People report when they have a problem that is too big for them to solve on their own. People who report bullying are doing the right thing. And the reality is adults can’t address the problem if they don’t know about it.

That said, you have to be smart about who you tell because some adults are good at dealing with these kind of problem. What you need to find is your own personal ally. An ally is an adult that you trust to help you think through your problems. They give you courage and confidence to face your fears. An ally can be a parent or guardian, a teacher, a coach, a neighbor, a cousin or counselor. The Ally is the person you report the bullying too. Avoid describing the bullying in generalities like, “He is being mean.” Be specific about the bullying behavior, where you are when it occurs, and what you need to feel safe.

If you are scared to go to school, show up for practice, or any other activity, tell your ally or the adult who is in charge. It is not your fault that you are being bullied, and you have the right to be in school and participate in after-school activities, just like everyone else. Seriously, no matter what people say about you, think about you, or have done to you, you deserve to be treated with dignity and have the right to go to school without people making you miserable.

What do you do if the bully is a friend?

It’s always important to have strong friendships that you can depend on, but sometimes the bully can be a friend. If that happens ask yourself the following questions about your friendship.

• What are the three most important things I need in a friendship? (Most people say, trust, respect, and honesty)
• Are my friends treating me according to what I need in a friendship?
• If my friends aren’t treating me according to my standards, why am I in this friendship? Is it worth it?
• If my friends were nice to me tomorrow, do I believe the bullying will stop or am I hoping for the best and putting all the power in their hands?

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