Need help with bullying? This section contains a variety of resources to help you deal with bullying.
Help Me, I’m Being Bullied!
Most of this material is written for adults who are trying to help a youth they know is being bullied. So if you’re a teen who reached this page because you yourself are being bullied, we recommend the following:
- If you’re able to get our e-book BullyProof ($4.99), it’s intended for people like you who have to cope with bullying or cruel behavior. Not only will it cover ways of handling the situation, but it’s loaded with stories and wisdom that will make it easier to cope with what you’re going through.
- Read the suggestions we offer in this section. Even though it’s written as if we were talking to parents and teachers, you just might get some ideas that can be applied to your own situation.
- Feel free to send us an email detailing what you’re going through. We don’t presume to have all the answers, but we always like to hear what kids like you are experiencing. It helps us better understand the problems you face, and if nothing else we can offer our support. Go to our contact us page and send an email; just be aware that we can’t always respond right away, and it’s often a week or two before we can get to all our email. So if you don’t get a response right away, it’s not because we don’t care or are ignoring you; it’s just that there are only so many hours in the day.
- If your situation is serious and you need help right away, contact the Teen Crisis Hotline:
” A child or teen who is bullied has not had the time and growth necessary to know, that he is a worthwhile person with unique strengths and weaknesses, so he does question himself and feel, insecure.He is very likely to take the insults personally and to be affected by them.” – Garbarino & deLara (2002, p 145)
Bullying is a form of child abuse, and its effects are every bit as severe as other forms of trauma or maltreatment. So aside from helping a bullied child by assisting them in prevention and intervention, adults should help them learn productive ways of coping with the abuse.
Nobody likes to be abused or picked on, but the real reason it hurts so much is that we end up taking our tormentors’ scalding words and messages at face value As a highly social species, we’re wired to care deeply about what others think, no matter how devoid of logic their grievances may be. So to help a child cope with bullying, you can’t simply say “that’s ridiculous” or “what nonsense” and leave it at that. Kids need physiological reinforcement that will help dampen this social abuse and put it in perspective. Since youth are emotionally immature and inexperienced in life, it’s important the adults help them refute the messages a bully sends their way, so that they can keep this abuse in perspective. Here are some of the key concepts you should emphasize to help comfort a bullied child
Let bullied kids know they’re not alone
Help a bullied child recognize that this happens to most kids, not just them Some kids certainly get it worse than others, but almost all will be on the receiving end at one time another. At being the target of bullying hardly malces them a degenerate or a reject.
A) Give them the numbers: Anywhere from 25% to 50% of kids report experiencing bullying behavior by someone within the past year, and over the life course, it’s pretty well near 100%. Very few will escape it completely. So being bullied is not itself a judgment against their character
B) Share stones with the about famous people who are bullied. Pop singer Lady Gaga, actor George Clooney, movie star Emma ‘Watson — many of the most successful people in society have had problems with bullying when they were younger. So if these people could endure the same thing as a kid, that hardly places them in bad company
C) Print our handout for kids ‘Losers Like Them’
Help bullied children understand that hostility isn’t logical
Reinforce the fact that people criticize differences, not better or worse Prejudice latches onto any little deviation or opening it can find, no matter how superficial illogical. You can provide comfort to a bullied child by helping them understand just how shallow and arbitrary the reasons for bullying can be.
Bullied children tend to buy into the imagined deficiencies that bullies target them over. So to combat this, help them see some of the crazy reasons that other kids have been targeted. It’s easier to see through the B.S. when you’re outside looking in and not in the middle of the situation, and so learning about some of the other ridiculous reasons that lcids have been targeted will help them better see their own situation for what it is: cruel and hostile behavior cloalced under bogus excuses.
A) Read your kids our anti-bullying book, Making Fun of Einstein, which helps teach this principle
B) Read the information in this book about the reasons/subjects of bullying, and share these excuses with your lads, particularly the opposites. (One child bullied for being too short, another for being too tall, one kid teased for being smart, another taunted about being stupid, etc.) Use this to emphasize that when kids want to be mean, they’ll pick out whatever imagined difference they can find.
Help bullied youth understand that not everyone enjoys the hostility
When children are victims of bullying, especially that which takes the form of rumors or public humiliation, their mind can become their own worst enemy. They’ll start to form suspicions and conjecture about what all the other kids are thinking or feeling: “I just know everyone at school thinks…; so and so didn’t come up to me and say hello today. I just know that so and so got to her…; when people saw that, they thought, “what a loser she is,'” etc. One way to get them to feel better is to tame some of this rumination.
A) Tell them stories about times when YOU witnessed someone else being humiliated and embarrassed: were these the types of things you were thinking? We certainly hope not. If you’re like most psychologically healthy people, you probably responded by feeling empathy for their situation rather than ill will. Tell your kids this.
B) Emphasize that many of the kids who witness bullying are on their side. When they witness acts of intentional humiliation, they’re judging the bully harshly, not the victim. Such cruelty is the bully’s shame, not their own. They generally don’t speak up about it for fear of being targeted themselves or because they feel they don’t have the capacity to get involved, but not everyone sides with the bullies.
C) Help them realize that there are many other reasons for why kids would be silent or even go along with the bullying that have nothing to do with hating them or considering them to be a reject: Other youth may fear being the target themselves. They may be being threatened or blackmailed in some way into going along. They may be suckers for peer pressure and just follow along with whatever their friends are doing. They may be jealous of you, and thus revel in your humiliation out of jealous admiration, not because they think you’re a loser. They may be trying to earn kudos or respect from the original bully. They may mistakenly see the hostility as good-natured fun and not realize the harm it’s causing, etc. There are many reasons that kids bully or go along with bullying, and few have to do with genuinely considering the bullied child a loser.