Bullying is a real problem which today’s children are facing to greater degrees than their predecessors have. Although there have always been bullies and there have always been targets for them to pick on, there haven’t always been such extremes to the actions that are taken. Bullying today has led to very serious injuries and even death in some cases. It is not something that should be taken lightly whatsoever.
Parents and other adults are often looked to for protection against bullies, but there are times when children are on their own, so to speak, when it comes to discouraging bullies and their inappropriate behavior. The following are five things that children can do to discourage bullying from happening to them, around them, or in any other way that affects them.
Children are just as capable as any other segment of society of changing the world around them by showing kindness to others, rather than by being mean and spiteful. For every child who is taught to be kind, there is one less bully in society and one less person who finds this behavior normal or acceptable. In fact, the kindness that one child shows might even change the attitudes and actions of the other children around them, even the bullies.
Ignoring the Bullies, When Possible
Although there is not always the option of just ignoring a bully, there are times that this is an effective deterrent. If the child is not in any danger, a bully may find that it isn’t very much fun to harass the child who isn’t giving him or her the attention that he or she is trying to get with the negative behavior. Even if this is effective, a child should still be encouraged to let an adult know about the bullying so that there may be some intervention before the bad behavior escalates.
Developing Healthy Self-Esteem in Themselves
Bullies are almost always, if not always, suffering with less than healthy self-esteem. It is for this very reason that they begin bullying in the first place. Making others feel poorly is a temporary bandage for the way that they feel about themselves. It is interesting then that bullies do not target kids with high self-esteem, but others like themselves, who are dealing with low self-images. Confident children with healthy senses of who they are and how they deserve to be treated are rarely the targets of bullies.
Report Bullying as Soon as Possible
Bullying is too often kept as a secret from adults who could help because the target of the bullying is either threatened or doesn’t want to feel like a “tattletale” or a “baby” by telling someone. It is very important, though, that children are taught that this is always the most important thing that they can do when they witness or are a victim to bullying.
Show No Admiration for Meanness
Bullies want to be admired because of the “tough” demeanor that they portray with the behavior. They crave the attention that bullying gets them and they want other kids to look up to them. They may pretend that they don’t care what anyone thinks of them, but they do care, just like everybody else. If they find that they aren’t getting the attention and admiration that they are craving, they are much more likely to change their behavior in an effort to find some other way to get these responses from their peers.
Bullying is very serious and it is becoming a bigger problem today than it has ever been before. Whether it’s cyber-bullying, playground bullying, or any other kind, it is not acceptable and it can become extremely dangerous. Children can help to discourage bullying in many ways, including those suggested above.