Anyone who has experienced bullying at school will know how debilitating it can be. Some people carry the scars of bullying through to adulthood. If you are being bullied at school, or know someone who is, there are a number of ways you can cope. You will just need to find the method that best suits your personal situation.
Share your feelings
If you are being bullied, you may feel very ashamed and want to hide the fact from your friends and family. However, sharing your feelings is an excellent way of coping with the bullying. It should give you the strength to realise that it is the bully who is in the wrong, not you. At the very least, you can talk about ways of dealing with the bully; someone who isn’t quite so personally involved may be able to give you a more reasoned point of view. There are plenty of helplines that you can call or email for impartial advice too, such as BullyingUK.
Walk away from the bully
A bully usually intimidates for a reason; he wants you to react in a scared or upset way so that he feels more powerful. If you show fear or hatred in front of them, it will simply fuel the fire. It can be very difficult to just walk away when you are hurt and angry, but in the long run, it will be a wise move. Confronting the bully may be tempting, especially if you have other people on your side, but it won’t solve the problem. It could well make the bully more determined to wait until you are on your own and then pick on you.
Avoid the bully
In many circumstances, you can probably ensure that you don’t come across the bully very often. If you know that he is likely to wait for you on your way home, try going a different way, catch the bus instead of walking, or ask someone to pick you up. Don’t go to the bully’s favourite spots when you know he is likely to be there. When you are in a situation in which you know you will come across him, in class for example, make an effort to enter and leave the class accompanied by friends, or arrive and leave at different times.
Make an official complaint
Speak to a responsible adult. This could be a teacher at your school or, if you don’t feel comfortable contacting one directly, speak to your parents and ask them to advocate on your behalf. Teachers should take any accusations of bullying very seriously; if the teacher you speak to doesn’t appear to be doing so, then turn to another one. When you make your complaint, make sure that you (or your parents) have all the details to hand, including times, places and names of witnesses. Don’t be tempted to hide how it makes you feel. You are upset and you have a right to be so.
Don’t let it bring you down
You may know deep down that you are a perfectly nice person, but it can be hard to believe that when someone is picking on you and telling you that you are inadequate. Hopefully, your friends will be able to keep you on track. Try and keep your mood as positive as possible by spending plenty of time with friends and take up one or two new hobbies. Something that involves exercise will help build up your confidence; exercise releases endorphins, which will help to improve your mood. You may even meet some new friends in the process.
Seek more drastic measures
If none of the above tips work, you and your parents may need to look for a more drastic way of dealing with the situation. Speaking to the head teacher is probably the first step, but in some cases, the police may need to be involved. If the matter cannot be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, then your parents could consider a new school, or even homeschooling if that is an option. Hopefully, however, that won’t be necessary. Most bullies will moderate their behaviour if they know they are being watched.
If you are being bullied, be aware that you are not alone. There are plenty of people out there who understand exactly how you feel and are ready to help you. Sometimes, you just need to make the first step and ask for help.