...I am being bullied?
Bullying damages self-esteem and self-worth. When it is ongoing, it stops young people learning effectively, forming relationships and enjoying time at school or in their local areas. If you think you might be being bullied you should:
- think if it is actually bullying. Does it fit the ABC definition?
- talk to an adult in your school. Think carefully about who the best person to tell is. You should choose someone you think you can trust, and someone who you think can be trusted to sort it out. Find a time to talk to them when you can be sure they are listening to you and you can fully explain the situation. Tell them you need to talk to them about something important as soon as possible. They should then tell you when would be a good time.
- make a written log of what happens and make sure you write everything down (even if it seems little). You should not tell any other students at school about your log book, and make sure you keep it somewhere where other young people won’t find it.
- keep talking to other people!! Bullying happens because the ringleader thinks that they are powerful and have authority over you. Don’t let this be true! By talking to people, you can take away the power that the ringleader has to control the situation.
- expect it to be sorted out. Adults in schools have a responsibility to keep children safe. This means they have to respond quickly and appropriately to allegations of bullying. If you do not see an improvement, go back to the adult you told again. It may be that, because you haven’t said anything else, they have assumed there have been no more problems.
- talk to adults around you, parents and older siblings can be a really useful source of support.
- appear confident and assertive. Walk with your head up, straight down the middle of the corridor.
- build up some resilience. Think about the things that are good about being you. Remember that the bullying isn’t happening because of something you have done, or something that is wrong with you.
- keep yourself safe. If you know that there will be problems in a certain alleyway, perhaps consider going another way.
- stay in a group. Explain to your friends what the problem is. Remember that you have done nothing wrong.
...I am bullying others?
Just like anyone can be bullied, anyone can bully others. The most important thing is that you try to accept that your behaviour is not acceptable and is damaging the people around you.
If you think you might be using bullying behaviour you should:
- ask for help! Any professional should be impressed that you are willing to work on your behaviour for the better.
- think about your reputation. Could you be known for something more positive? Why not be known throughout the school as a fantastic footballer or great singer, rather than someone who bullies?
- look at the people around you. Do you use bullying behaviour because your friends do? Perhaps you could join some clubs to help you make new friends.
- try to make amends with the people you have hurt, but be prepared for the fact that they may not be willing to hear your apology yet.
People choose their behaviour. This choice is easier for some than for others. You can choose to behave in a way which is positive, or in a way which is negative. We know that no-one really wants to bully others and that anyone has the capacity to change their reputation with support.