The experience of being bullied can feel isolating, scary, and cause serious harm. You are not alone. At least 1 in 3 Canadian students have reported being bullied (cite). That could include 10 students in a single classroom. In this post, you will find 10 tips to use if you or someone you know are being bullied. Choose which ones work best for you.
Start with yourself
1. Understand that it is not your fault
You deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. It is never okay for someone to bully you.
2. Practice self-care
Do something to take care of yourself, especially if you are feeling down. Write in a journal, read a book you love, chat with a friend, listen to soothing music, create art, whatever you are into.
Choose your response
3. Don’t give the bully what they want
Bullies are looking for a reaction, so don’t give them one. They are waiting for you to cry, shake, or avoid eye contact. If they don’t get what they want, they are less likely to continue their behaviour. Take a deep breath and count backwards from 10, 20, or 100, whatever it takes.
4. Keep your distance
When you see a bully heading your way, walk away from them. If you are in a situation where you cannot escape the bully, for example if they are in the same class as you, try sitting away from them or ask your teacher (see tip # 8) to put you in different groups.
5. Be assertive
Turn your body towards the bully, look them in the eye, and with a firm voice tell them to stop.
6. Surround yourself with positive people
Take a good look at your friendships to figure out which ones are worth keeping. Make friends you can count on to look out for you and support you, then say goodbye to frenemies.
7. Plan with your friends
If you have a good friend, talk about what you could both do to deter the bully. Speak up for them and ask them to do the same for you. Be mindful that you don’t resort to bullying the person that was bullying you.
8. Talk to a trusted adult
There are many people in your life who are there to support you. For example, reach out to a parent or caregiver, family member, teacher, school counsellor, youth worker, Big Sister, Study Buddy, or Go Girls Mentor. You can also always call the Kids Help Phone anytime to speak to someone who will listen, 1-800-668-6868 (https://kidshelpphone.ca/).
Keep reporting the bullying until someone listens, then keep reporting every time it happens.
Be part of the bigger community
10. Take a stand against bullying
Remember that you are not alone, even if you feel isolated, there are many others who also experience bullying. Stand together. Pink Shirt Day is a great way to show our solidarity against bullying, but don’t let that support disappear when the pink shirts are put away. Create a community of allies.
& a few tips for cyberbullying…
- Take a screenshot of the conversation/text/post as proof of what the bully said and show a trusted adult
- Block the bully on social media
- Take a break and do something that you enjoy away from social media such as spending time in nature with a good friend or family member
Most people will experience a form of bullying at some point in their lives. If you or someone you know is being bullied, remember: start with yourself, choose your response, gather allies, and be part of the bigger community. Together we can.
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