What is bullying?

Anyone can be bullied, it doesn't matter what your age, sex or cultural background. Bullying is a lot more common than people think and can happen in many different environments including school, at home or at work.

There are many ways that someone can be bullied:

  • Verbal - such as name calling or put downs, threats.
  • Physical - being punched, tripped, kicked or having your belongings stolen or damaged.
  • Social - being left out, ignored or having rumours spread.
  • Psychological - you are given dirty looks or stalked.

    Being bullied can lower your self-esteem and you may feel alone, sad, depressed, angry, scared or confused. If you are being bullied it is not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you. Don't be afraid to let someone know that you are being bullied they may be able to help you.

    Who bullies?

    A bully can be an individual, or group of people and can either be someone your own age, an older person, or someone in a position of power such as a teacher, parent or boss.

    Often a bully will have a low self-esteem or has been a victim of violence themselves and they are using bullying as a way of making themselves feel more powerful. If you are experiencing bullying it may help to remember that bullies are often not as tough as they make out. They are often dealing with their problems by bullying other people.

    What can I do?

    Below are suggestions of different things you may be able to do if you are being bullied. Different strategies can work in different situations. It is important to tell someone if the bully is being violent or seriously hurting you.

    Where possible ignore them - Ignoring the bully may be helpful. Bullies are looking for a reaction from you. Suggestions for ignoring the bully include:

    - walk away when the bully approaches you
    - have a saying that you can repeat in your head when the bully approaches you.

    Building a wall around you - it may be helpful to build an invisible wall around you. Any verbal abuse then just bounces off the wall.

    Use visualization - Bullies can be pretty scary, picturing them looking silly may help to make them less problematic for you. For example, picture the bully's head shrinking.

    Stay positive - It can be hard to remember all your good points when someone is doing their best to be negative. However try to think of all the things you do well and that you are a valuable person. Thinking of how bad the bully must be feeling may also help you to stay positive.

    Hang around other people - You may be safer if you stay in groups.

    Be confident- Bullies usually pick on people that they perceive are weaker than they are so it may help if you stand up to them. Some suggestions are:

    - telling them to leave you alone may get a bully off your back.
    - turning around and being nice to them may throw them right off.
    - using humour may also throw the bully off track.
    - use positive self talk - saying to yourself something like "I know I am better than that, I don't have to pick on other people to know that I am good."
    - remember that your friends accept you for who you are.

    Keep out of their way - It may be possible for you to avoid the bully. This can mean travelling a different way to school or avoiding the places that they hang out. This is not giving in to the bullying rather it is looking after yourself and ensuring you are happier and more comfortable.

    Tell someone else - To stop the bullying it can be helpful to tell someone that you are being bullied. This may seem scary at first however telling someone can lighten your load and help you to work out how to solve the problem.

    Friends, teachers, a school counsellor or parent may be helpful people to tell. If you feel more comfortable take a friend with you to chat to these people.

    Seeking help

    Bullying can lead to you feeling a whole lot of emotions. Speaking to your local doctor, counsellor or youth worker about it may help you understand these feelings and come up with strategies to cope with the situation.

    Looking for more information:
    http://www.insideouted.com.au - Information about bullying for parents, help for young people and an outline of the Bully Busters program for schools.

    Support our friends at Reachout! by visiting REACHOUT


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