Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Keep Your Lunch Money

Whether you're in school or working a 9-5 job, bullies exist. I doubt there is any among us who hasn't dealt with one in our lifetime. Here are a few ways on how to deal with a bully:

Ignore the bully and walk away.
It's definitely not a coward's response — sometimes it can be harder than losing your temper. Bullies thrive on the reaction they get, and if you walk away, or ignore hurtful emails or instant messages, you're telling the bully that you just don't care. Sooner or later the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother you. Walk tall and hold your head high. Using this type of body language sends a message that you're not vulnerable.

Hold the anger.
Who doesn't want to get really upset with a bully? But that's exactly the response he or she is trying to get. Bullies want to know they have control over your emotions. If you're in a situation where you have to deal with a bully and you can't walk away with poise, use humor — it can throw the bully off guard. Work out your anger in another way, such as through exercise or writing it down (make sure you tear up any letters or notes you write in anger).

Don't get physical.
However you choose to deal with a bully, don't use physical force (like kicking, hitting, or pushing). Not only are you showing your anger, you can never be sure what the bully will do in response. You are more likely to be hurt and get in to trouble if you use violence against a bully. You can stand up for yourself in other ways, such as gaining control of the situation by walking away or by being assertive in your actions. Some adults believe that bullying is a part of growing up (even that it is character building) and that hitting back is the only way to tackle the problem. But that's not the case. Aggressive responses tend to lead to more violence and more bullying for the victims.

Practice confidence.
Practice ways to respond to the bully verbally or through your behavior. Practice feeling good about yourself (even if you have to fake it at first).

Take charge of your life.
You can't control other people's actions, but you can stay true to yourself. Think about ways to feel your best — and your strongest — so that other kids may give up the teasing. Exercise is one way to feel strong and powerful. (It's a great mood lifter, too!) Learn a martial art or take a class like yoga. Another way to gain confidence is to hone your skills in something like chess, art, music, computers, or writing. Joining a class, club, or gym is a great way to make new friends and feel great about yourself. The confidence you gain will help you ignore the mean kids.

Talk about it.
It may help to talk to a guidance counselor, teacher, or friend — anyone who can give you the support you need. Talking can be a good outlet for the fears and frustrations that can build when you're being bullied.

Find your (true) friends.
If you've been bullied with rumors or gossip, all of the above tips (especially ignoring and not reacting) can apply. But take it one step further to help ease feelings of hurt and isolation. Find one or two true friends and confide how the gossip has hurt your feelings. Set the record straight by telling your friends quietly and confidently what's true and not true about you. Hearing a friend say, "I know the rumor's not true. I didn't pay attention to it," can help you realize that most of the time people see gossip for what it is — petty, rude, and immature.

Were you bullied in school? What did you do about it?


  1. I was never bullied in school, with the grand exception of the teenage girl issues that crop up with Jr High and high school.

    Girls can be vicious.

  2. I was never bullied in school either, but I saw "potentials" out there in elementary school land. I usually just avoided those girls or walked away.

  3. Anonymous10:48 AM

    I wasn't bullied as much as "hazed" when I was a junior. The senior on the drill team would haze the juniors. It was emotionally destroying. It's been YEARS ago and when I see these women today, I still feel resentment. When we got to be seniors, that crap stopped.

  4. 1st one. I lived in a bubble where I read books all day long. If someone picked on me I probably didn't realize it or I just didn't care about what they had to say.
    However, there was one time in sixth grade during volleyball when this big kid insulted me and my best friend. I literally saw red. I about flew over that net but some girl, I don't even know who, stopped me. That's the only time I remember getting angry.
    Cool post.

  5. Hmm I was bullied once when I was in 1st grade by big mean upper graders. I can't even remember why they picked on me - I was 6 to to their 8 or 9 and they didn't beat me up or anything, they would just taunt and tease me. My mom talked to the principal and it never happened again. That was really it.

    Bullies really just want attention so the walk away/ignore them is the best advice, K!

  6. Amanda Brice12:39 PM

    Not bullied, per se, but there are an awful lot of frenemies in high school, unfortunately.

    So you need to stay true to yourself and if that means walking away, all the better!

  7. I was a nerdy smart kid with a skin condition. They called me Barnacle Betty. But somewhere in the earliest part of high school I found my niche. I kind of became the head dork. Then formed a band (The Beachrats) and that was sort of my way out of bully-hood.

    But I also grew up in a town where fist-fighting, even among girls, was common. And I also took the wrong way out a time or two.

    It probably helps having brothers who are rather large.

  8. I went to one school before we moved to Washington where I was *that* girl because I was new. It was awful. I spoke to no one for most of the year.

    I didn't have a problem with mean girls when I was in high school, but my daughter does. I'd LOVE to speak to their parents, but I know it would make it worse for her, so we just work on esteem building at home. It's hard.

  9. I was bullied in high school, but then I became good friends with a very very large tomboyish girl who had my back like you wouldn't believe.

  10. I wasn't super bullied, per se, but I did get picked on. Luckily, I had some great friends and didn't put a lot of stock into it.