It’s not a child’s job to discourage bullying, but since adults are failing in protecting children, children often have to figure out how to handle a bully by themselves.
For Verbal Abuse:
Find the bullies soft spot. That bully that is trying to make you feel bad about your glasses or fuller figure, may have some body images issues of their own and the sooner you figure out what those are the sooner you can hit back, so to speak. A girl who repeatedly called me four-eyes, quit when I started calling her big beak. She had a rather large nose. Okay you frowning adults, tit for tat may not seem like the right way to handle a bully, but sometimes it works. Big Beak never picked on me again.
Sometimes you can use the bully’s beliefs against them. The worst, meanest, nastiest bully I have ever had the misfortune to have to deal with finally backed off when I started quoting the Bible to her. She considered herself a very devout Christian, (go figure), and when she would say nasty, threatening stuff to me, I started quoting the Bible back to her. She got so freaked out, she finally left me alone. No better reminder to behave yourself than someone pointing out that Jesus is watching this.
For Physical Bullies:
Run to the nearest adult, and if they don’t help you run to another one. No one has the right to physically abuse you. NO ONE. Unfortunately some adults will lecture that “boys will be boys” or “stand up for yourself”. Meanwhile if someone on the street punched them, they would go to the police, and the bully would go to jail! It’s amazing that we expect kids to tolerate more abuse than we do!
If you do pop them in the head, be ready for a steady stream of bullies to approach you in the future. Nothing attracts a bully like a challenge, and you may end up in more fights than you can shake a stick at. The bullies finally left me alone after numerous fights, and a few trips to the principal’s office, but I wouldn’t suggest this route. I never started a fight, but I sure finished a few. This is not a good way to spend your time. It’s much better when you can get an adult to intervene on your behalf.
We as adults need to make sure we are approachable to kids being bullied. Don’t feed the kid a bunch of useless sayings, “If you stand up to a bully they will back off.” This works in the movies, not in real life! In real life Marty McFly would have been crushed by Biff. Help the kid being bullied by taking it up with the other adults involved, the bully’s parents, the school, the police if you have to. If you were being followed, harassed, and physically hurt, wouldn’t you call the police for yourself? Is that child worth less than an adult? Everyone deserves to live and work in a safe environment, and this includes our children