Bullying scars people for life. It involves one or more people repeatedly and knowingly doing things to make the targeted person feel afraid, hurt, or stressed. It can take place anywhere – in schools and colleges, within families, at places of work, online, and sometimes over a phone call as well. It can take any form, be it physical, verbal, or social.
Kids who face bullying often feel alone, unsafe, stressed, afraid, angry, ashamed, and rejected. Bullying is traumatic, especially when carried out by relationships that play an important role in shaping a child’s behaviour like friends and peers.
The victims feel disconnected from school or work. They have low confidence and low self-esteem. They feel unwanted. They may suffer from depression and anxiety and might become anti-social and suspicious of others. They close themselves to the outside world. They may become extremely emotional and avoid conflicts. Sometimes they take drastic steps like substance abuse and taking their own life.
Here are some things a kid can do to avoid being bullied or not to let the bully affect them.
1. Walk away: Just avoid your bully. Appear confident, make eye contact, and walk away as if you do not care.
2. Divert your attention: Concentrate on something else like your favourite musical instrument, your favourite costume, or your favourite hobby.
3. Don’t react: Look into their eyes, laugh, joke about yourself, and simply walk away without having any unnecessary conversation. Be firm and clear, and ask the bullies to stop.
4. Don’t get physical: If someone attacks you physically, don’t try to fight back, as you may get hurt.
5. Get help: You can talk to your teacher, your parents, the school psychologist, or even a trusted adult regarding this. This way, you will not only get help but also feel less lonely and afraid. Together you can find ways to stop bullying and overcome the negative feelings that you’re going through.
Parents can help by creating a climate at home that encourages discussion so that it is easier for kids to open up. Parents should let their kids know that they will love them no matter what, and support them during their difficult times.
6. Know that it’s not your fault: Never blame yourself and don’t hurt yourself. You have every right to live in a safe and violence-free environment.
7. Don’t give up: Do not avoid going to school or work, if you are afraid of the bully. Never give up on your goals.
8. Be self-aware: Try to think of all the things that you are good at. Think of your parents and think of all the beautiful memories with your family. Work on your self-esteem and work on building resilience.
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