What should I do if I’m being bullied?

Tell parents/carers, a teacher or a trusted adult.  Don’t  keep it a secret because the bullying won’t stop until you tell.

Tell a friend and ask your friend to help you tell an adult; it’s harder for the bully to pick on you if there’s a friend for support.

Keep telling until someone listens.

Contact Childline, 08001111 www.childline.org.uk

Stand up straight, look the bully in the eyes and walk away without saying a word; this may make the bully stop because he/she is bored when you don’t react.

Things you could say: ‘No!’ ‘Go away!’ ‘Leave me alone!' ‘Don't bully me'

Make a joke e.g. ‘You obviously really like me, you can’t leave me alone’.

If on a school bus tell the driver.

Try not to show that you are upset.

If you feel threatened give the bullies what they want e.g. possessions or money as it’s not worth getting hurt; property can be replaced, you can’t.

Keep a diary of what is happening as this makes it easier to prove when telling someone.

When telling someone make sure you explain how the bullying is making you feel as sometimes people don’t understand how hurtful name calling and verbal abuse can be.

Stay in a group of friends when you don’t feel safe.

Tips to avoid being bullied:

Positive body language (stand straight, head up, look relaxed & confident).

Eye contact - don’t stare or look afraid just hold their eyes.

Say/shout ‘No!’.

If i’m being bullied, is there something wrong with me?

No! We're all individuals and have the right to be who we are. People who bully are trying to gain power to feel better about themselves. One of the effects of bullying is that your self esteem is pulled down, you begin to believe what the bullies say, and the more you are pulled down, the more you are targeted. This is called the negative cycle of bullying.

There are helpful and unhelpful ways to respond to the bullying. Sometimes a person who is targeted responds in an aggressive or submissive way which can indirectly encourage the bullies who want to get a reaction. You can learn skills to respond in an assertive way, which is calm and strong but doesn’t feed into what the bully wants.

Why do people bully others?

Some of the reasons may be: they've been bullied themselves, they are insecure about themselves, they find it hard to make friends.  Bullies may lack the ability to put themselves in others shoes (have empathy) so they don’t always realise the effects of what they are doing to the other person, although sometimes they are well aware and they seek out power through the bullying behaviour.

What if I don’t want my parents / carers to know?

Think about who else you could talk to – a friend , a teacher or an adult in school or  another family member. If the bullying gets worse, however, it’s really important to talk to your parents / carers about it and tell them what you would like them to do / not do. See also the useful links section at the bottom of this page – there are forums so that you can chat about your situation and get help from other young people.

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