If you are being bullied there are lots of things you can do to take action.
Firstly it is really important that you tell someone. You could talk to your mum and dad, teachers at school and friends. Bullies don’t like other people to know about what they are doing so always tell if you are being bullied, even if the bully has told you they will hurt you if you tell on them. Sometimes it can be hard to talk about what’s happening because it can feel embarrassing. Sometimes people don’t always listen very carefully to what you’re trying to explain and will tell you not to make a fuss, or that they’re sure the bully didn’t really mean it, or that you should just forget about it. If this happens make sure that you tell them every time something happens and soon they will take notice and help you.
If you know someone who tends to be a bully try as much as possible to stay away from them. This is not always easy to do but if a bully keeps trying to follow you around try and stay aware of where they are as it is always easier to deal with someone you can see coming than someone who sneaks up behind you.
They are also less likely to do something to you if you stay close to an adult (for example a playground supervisor) or with a large group of friends. If you can, talk with your friends about the problem and ask them to stay close to you so that you are always with other people. This gives you witnesses to any incident which occurs and may deter the bully from coming to pick on you, you can also ask your friends to run and get help from an adult if anything happens.
Tell yourself that no-one has the right to make you feel sad or unhappy. Often people who are bullied are left believing they are useless, rubbish and friendless. It’s not true and you need to remind yourself that all those unkind things the bully says or does to you are wrong. Remind yourself of all the things that you are good at, think about all the things that make you happy (like spending time with your family or your pets), do something nice or kind for someone and feel good about it, write a list of all the friends and family you have that love and care for you and compare that to the number of people who make you feel sad. There will always be more people who do like or love us than there are who bully us, but the bullies seem to be able to take away all the happy feelings – you can change that if you think less about the bad things and more about the good things. Remember, bullies are trying to control you – so in your mind you have to fight back and tell yourself that you are not going to let them control how you feel. Stay positive and things will get better.
A bully is less likely to pick on you if you are confident so try and stand up straight and tall. Look in the mirror at home and practice making your eyes and facial expression very stern (just like your mum does when she’s cross with you!) so that when you are faced with a bully you can look confident and unafraid.
Control your emotions
Learn to let go of any bad feelings. Our emotions often control our actions, so it is important that we are in control of our emotions, otherwise it can be very easy to lose our temper with a bully and start arguing back, or to lash out in fear and start a fight. When we feel threatened by a bully we stop thinking clearly and often have a tummy which feels full of worry, fear, anger, sadness, embarrassment and other bad feelings. To be able to make good choices it is important that we lose all these feelings so we can think clearly. Try and take a deep breath and as you breathe out feel as though you are blowing away all the negative emotions. You need to do this until you can speak clearly and calmly without any anger or fear. This is something which you should practice at home every day as it then becomes easier to do it when you are faced by a bully.
If someone tries to bully you make sure that you send them a clear message that they should stop straight away. Walk away without letting them finish what they are trying to say and try to stay calm. Remember, bullies want to see you get upset, scared, embarrassed or angry so don’t give them what they want, sometimes this can make them stop. When you walk away, don’t turn your back on them in case they try to hit you and if they follow you and continue to be rude then shout really loudly “NO, GO AWAY AND LEAVE ME ALONE, DON’T BULLY ME”. If you have a loud voice it can help to put the bully off, but it can also attract the attention of other people nearby who may be able to help you.
Break the habit
If the bullying is always happening in the same place or at the same time of day (for example on the school bus, or at the park after school) then try and break the habit. For a short time see if someone else can drop you at school or walk you home so you’re not alone. It can be difficult as it makes you feel that the bully has won if you have to make these adjustments but even if it’s only for a few days it might help. Bullies will often pick on the same person almost like a habit, if you’re not there then they can’t pick on you and the habit can be broken.
If a bully is threatening to hurt you and you think they are going to try and fight you, take up the wedge position and defend yourself. It is never okay to start a fight with someone but if a bully is trying to hurt you, you have every right to stop them and defend yourself. Many children are afraid to fight back in case they get into trouble, but I believe it is better that you defend yourself and stay unharmed (even if it means being told off for it) than to get injured because you are afraid of getting into trouble. The important thing to remember is that fighting is only ever a last resort, always try other ways out of the situation first.