Anti-Bullying/Bullying – information for children and young people
Talk about it
You should tell your parents, teachers and other adults that this is happening to you. Don’t feel ashamed, it’s not your fault. If you don’t think you’re being taken seriously, tell them how it makes you feel and ask them to help. They should help you resolve the conflict and help you let the bully know how you feel. The bully might be surprised at how bad they are making you feel.
Tell a friend what is happening
Ask him or her to help you. It will be harder for the bully to pick on you if you have a friend with you for support.
Say ‘No’ really firmly, then turn and walk away
Don’t worry if people think you are running away. Remember, it is very hard for the bully to go on bullying someone who won’t stand still to listen.
Try not to show that you are upset or angry
Bullies love to get a reaction – it’s ‘fun’. Every time you get angry or upset they will do it more. If you can keep calm and hide your emotions, they might get bored and leave you alone. As someone said to us, ‘they can’t bully you if you don’t care’.
Don’t try to please the bully
You might think ‘What have I done to deserve this?’ The answer is probably nothing. Anyone can become a target. The important thing is not to try to change yourself to make the bullying stop. If they pick on your trainers and you get a new pair, they’ll probably find something else to pick on.
Show them you’re not bothered
There are a number of tactics for deflecting name calling. Bullies soon get bored if they can’t see you getting upset or angry. You could try some of these:
- Agree (in a ‘so what’ manner) – e.g. ‘Yes, I do like maths’, ‘Yeah, I smell’, ‘Yep, you’re right, I am an idiot’
- Disagree – e.g. ‘No, I’m not a grass’, ‘No, I didn’t give you a dirty look’, ‘No, I won’t give you my phone’
- Compliment yourself with an opposite – e.g. ‘No, I’m not stupid, I’m actually pretty smart’, ‘No, I’m not a weirdo, I’m just too cool for you to understand’, ‘I’m not a freak, I‘m unique’
- Agree, but – e.g. ‘Yes, I know I’m not cool but I am happy the way I am’, ‘Yes, I know I’ve been upset lately, but I’m working on it’, ‘Yeah, my trainers are rubbish, but I can’t afford anything else’
- Humour – ‘I’m not stylish enough to be gay’, ‘I’d love to be perfect like you but it’s just not happening is it?’, ‘I know I’m ugly, thank God for plastic surgery, right?’
- Broken record – e.g. I’d like my bag back please … I’d like my bag back please … I’d like my …’, ‘Can you leave me alone please … Can you leave me alone please … Can you …’, I’m not listening to you … I’m not listening to you …’
Try to think up funny or clever replies in advance
Make a joke of it. This might be difficult so write down the names you are being called and ask family and friends to help you think up some funny answers. Practice them at home until you feel confident enough to say them. Replies don’t have to be wonderfully brilliant or clever but it helps to have an answer ready. Practice saying them in the mirror at home. Using prepared replies works best if the bully is not too threatening and just needs to be put off.
If you can’t think of a clever answer or a ‘fogging’ answer, just shrug your shoulders and say ‘Whatever’, ‘Bothered?’, ‘Heard it all before’. Again, the bully can’t argue and may get bored.
Sometimes asking the bully to repeat what they said can put them off
Often bullies are not brave enough to repeat the remark exactly so they tone it down. If they repeat it, you will have made them do something they hadn’t planned on and this gives you some control of the situation. This works especially well for the nasty comments during lesson times!
Always tell an adult
If it happens at school, tell a teacher you trust. If it’s outside the school tell a parent or any other adult that you trust.
Don’t fight back if you can help it
Most bullies are bigger or stronger than you. If you fight back, you could make the situation worse, get hurt or be blamed for starting the trouble.
It’s not worth getting hurt to keep possessions or money
If you feel threatened, give the bullies what they want. Property can be replaced, you can’t.
Try to avoid being alone in the places where you know the bully is likely to pick on you
This might mean changing your route to school, avoiding parts of the playground, or only using common rooms or lavatories when other people are there. It’s not fair that you do this, but it might put the bully off.
Being left out
Try talking to one of the group
Usually you’ll know the one in the group who is feeling bad or is weaker/kinder than the others. Get him/her alone or phone them at home. Ask them why you are being left out; how they would feel if they were being treated as badly as you are; why they are joining in; and say that you know they’re not like that really – appeal to their good side.
In all cases
Keep a diary of what is happening
Write down the details of the incidents and your feelings. A written record of the bullying makes it easier to prove what has been going on.