Teasing and bullying are terrible problems in schools, on playgrounds, within families, and wherever kids and teenagers gather. Kids get picked on because they are fat, thin, tall, short, have a disability, speak with an accent, have different hair or skin from others, are poor, or any number of other reasons. Adults are sometimes insulted, treated with disrespect, and ignored because of people’s attitudes towards their differences. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you are different from others. It is just a fact, neither right nor wrong, neither better nor worse.
Unfortunately, there will always be some members of a group who feel the need to pick on those who are different. Bullies are usually people who feel very bad about themselves. Sometimes they are victims of bullying themselves, and sometimes they have been treated very badly at home. Sometimes members of their families insult them and abuse them. They have not learned how to be friendly and pleasant. The only way they know how to get attention is by trying to hurt others.
Bullying is a very difficult thing to fight, but here are some methods that have worked for some people. Each situation is different, so each person has to try different things and see what works for them.
1. Remember that you are a worthy person. You are lovable and capable. There is nothing wrong with you. The bully is the one who is acting badly.
2. Don’t stoop to their level. It may be tempting to insult them back, but that might just make them meaner.
3. Don’t let them know that they are hurting your feelings. Bullies only enjoy making fun of people if their victims show fear, pain, or anger. If you act as if it doesn’t affect you, they may leave you alone.
4. Always be friendly, not just when you’re being picked on, but all the time. Bullies are usually lonely people who think they need to act mean to get attention. If you can be nice to them, sometimes they will leave you alone. You might even be helping that person get along with others better.
5. Teach yourself to be outgoing. Walk and talk with self-confidence. Learn to make eye contact with others. Say “Good morning” or “Hi” when you first see people. Stand up straight with your head up when you walk, and talk in an average voice not too loud, not too soft. Sometimes it helps to imitate someone you admire.
6. Choose friends who support you and make you feel good about yourself. If you realize that one of your friends is undermining your self-confidence, you should seriously consider ending that friendship. It is not worth it to hang out with people who put you down.
7. The hardest kind of bullying to deal with is when a few people make fun of you as a group. But the same principles apply.
8. If you see someone bullying another person, go to that person’s rescue. Encourage others to help you confront the bully. Bullies depend on the fact that most people will not do anything to help the victim. But if a bully thinks that the people standing around do not approve of what they are doing, they may stop.