How do you know if your friend or brother or sister is being bullied at school? They may start doing some of these things:
- They’ve started to become too scared to go to school or hang out with friends.
- Want to stay at home all the time
- They have their things stolen or broken or hidden from them.
- Seem to be afraid, nervous, worried, stressed or anxious.
- They’ve become moody or cry a lot
- Can’t concentrate on schoolwork and are falling behind
- Can’t sleep at night and always seem tired
- Get upset or secretive when they check their phone or computer
- Keep putting themselves down
- You see them being hassled or you read mean things about them online.
- You hear rumours about them. Hear nasty comments about them.
What to do if someone you know, your friend, brother or sister is being bullied.
If you are being bullied at school you could try these tips.
- Talk to your parents, a teacher or another adult you trust NOW! They don’t necessarily have to go up to the school and get involved (unless it’s really serious). They can just listen and reassure you and give you some tips on how to handle the situation.
- If its physical bullying, you need to get help immediately so you can be safe.
- Here are some tips to deal with verbal or emotional bullying. Don’t catastrophize! Keep some perspective. Humans are tricky and things often go wrong in friendships and relationships. No-one’s perfect. Being a kid or a teenager is a pretty intense time.
- Stay calm and breathe.
- Step back from the situation. Ask yourself ‘Did that person really mean to hurt my feelings’ If the answer is ‘Probably not’ or ‘No’‘ then just ignore it and try to let it go. If you think they meant to upset you and it’s safe to talk to them: stand up straight, look them in the eye and gently say “I felt upset yesterday when you called me …….. Could you please not say that to me again?”
- Stay away from that person in the playground or online for a few days to see if people just forget about it.
- Ask yourself ‘Is what they said to me true? Can I change what I’m doing so they won’t say it to me again?’ e.g. ‘You smell’. (Do you need to use a stronger deodorant or wash your uniform more often?) ‘You’re annoying’ (Were you being annoying?) ‘You told everyone about my secret’ (Did you? Can you apologise and promise you won’t do it again?) If someone apologises to you, try to give them a second chance.
- If what they said was true and you can’t do anything about it you need to work out how you’re going to handle it if they say it again. Use humour to diffuse the situation e.g: ‘You’re a nerd.’ Answer: ‘Yep and a nerd invented the iPhone so hopefully I’ll end up rich and famous.’ Or if someone says ‘Ranga!’ Answer: ‘Very observant of you’. If someone says ‘You’re a girl.’ Answer: ‘That’s weird cause my birth certificate says I’m a boy.’ (Be careful using this tip – you don’t want to make things worse or be a bully yourself.)
- If what they said to you is not true and it’s safe to talk to them. Say ‘I’m sorry but there’s been a bit of a misunderstanding. I didn’t………..’ (It may not work but it’s worth a try!)
- Always try to keep your power and be mature about it. If someone has posted an unkind comment or photo of you send them a private message (text or on Facebook) asking them to delete the photo or comment. Don’t be nasty about it or go into why you hate it just say ‘Really don’t like that pic of me. Could you please take it down for me. Thanks!’
- If you receive a nasty comment on-line take a copy or screen shot of it and keep it in a file in case you need it as evidence. If they do it again, report it to the site. If you know that it is still going on, you must go and report it to a teacher or parent.
- If someone posts something that is really inappropriate, do something immediately. Go straight to your parents or a teacher. They can have it removed from the site or flagged with Youtube immediately to minimise the damage.
- Get lots of sleep, eat well and try to get some exercise and quiet time so you’ll be strong to handle the long days at school in the teenage jungle!
- If you make a mistake, don’t be too hard on yourself. Think about the good things that happened during the day and get into the habit of talking to your parents or brother or sister every day so you don’t get overwhelmed.
- Don’t sit on-line all night looking for negative things about you or your friends.
- Always remember. No-one deserves to be bullied! The people bullying you are the sad powerless ones who are breaking the law. Do not be ashamed. Unfortunately everyone has had this happen to them at some stage. You do not deserve to feel bad or unsafe. Stand up for yourself.
- Every problem you encounter can be solved. Never ever give up!
- Be proud of who you are! Be your own best mate. Keep your self- talk positive. If you’re giving yourself a hard time change the ‘radio station’ in your head so you back yourself.
- Hang out with people who are positive and kind. Watch positive TV shows and movies. Listen to positive music. Dance around the lounge room. Ring your grandma -I bet she thinks you’re awesome!
- Always get help! There are some links in the next article where you can get more advice and help! Do it! You are totally worth it!!!
What could I do if my friend, brother or sister is being bullied at school:
- Try to get them to talk to you about it. Tell them you’ve noticed they’re not very happy lately. Stay calm and don’t try to ‘fix it’ or give too much advice. Just listen and tell them you understand how hard it must be for them at the moment.
- Tell them they can change things. Encourage them to talk to their parents or counsellor or a teacher you know will handle it calmly. Offer to go with them (right now?)
- If they don’t want to tell someone you must go to a teacher or an adult that knows them and say ‘Have you noticed (person) is struggling at the moment? I think they need some help.’
- Reassure them. Tell them that it’s not their fault and that the bullies are wrong. Tell them “You are a good person and you don’t deserve to be treated badly”
- Never suggest they retaliate or respond to the bullies.
- If you witness the bullying and its safe, you could say (to the bully) ‘Hey guys give it a rest’ or (to the person being bullied) ‘Hey Mrs …. is looking for you’ or ‘Your bus is here’ or ‘Hey its 20 past we have to go’.
- Make sure they avoid the places where they get bullied. Encourage them to find new things to do or places to go.
- If it’s on-line get them to check their privacy settings and show them how to keep a copy of the messages, block the person and report it to the site (it will be anonymous) Tell them not to upset themselves by re-reading the messages.
- Encourage them to avoid Facebook or whatever is upsetting them. Tell them you’ll give up Facebook too for the next week or so until things calm down.
- If you read something nasty about someone or see a hurtful photo or comment don’t send it on. Copy ,delete, report!
- Take care of yourself. Don’t be dragged into something that might make things escalate or make you a target.
- If it doesn’t stop and you’re still worried tell your parents or the Principal and if necessary the police.
Contact the Kids Helpline or call them on 1800 55 1800
School Bullying Programs
Brainstorm Productions tackle bullying, cyber bullying, violence, prejudice, cyber safety, underage drinking, binge drinking, teenage drug abuse, youth depression, eating disorders, family separation, values, ethics, discrimination and more via a wide range of live and interactive educational theatre productions for schools.