ARTICLES, WHAT IS BULLYING? HOW TO STOP KIDS BULLYING NOW
Life Hack: Don’t Be a Bully
The clock struck 8:00 AM, meaning it was time to go to school.
I had pulled the covers over my tear-soaked cheeks, still in my pyjamas and begged my mom, “Please don’t make me go.” She rubbed my back as her twelve-year-old daughter sniffled and ached in emotional turmoil.
After months of bullying, it finally hit a breaking point: “Go die like your brother” was their new strategy. I was their target, and they were the preteens responsible for me debating homeschooling.
I stayed home from school that day, but my pain stopped being just my own. My mother would end up secretly parking on my way home from school every day after to ensure I wasn’t being followed or harassed. My parents, aching for me, scheduled numerous appointments with the principal, school board and RCMP.
Thirteen years later and the bullying I faced now seems like a distant memory.
I’ve finally rebuilt my self-confidence, and I’ve found a backbone. However, I will never (and have never) forgotten the kids that made middle school a living hell for me. Their lives have moved on, and it seems as if they’re now kind, thriving, successful people.
But in some ways, to me, they will always be the 13-year-olds that told me to end my life.
What is it?
28% of children from grade 6 to grade 8 have fallen victim to bullying. The physical, emotional and mental abuse feels like it’ll never end.
Bullying can be defined by teasing, name-calling, stereotyping, fighting, starting rumours, exclusion or intimidation. Many children, as adults, use it as a power tactic.
Effects of Bullying
Bullying has painful, long-term effects on its victims.
Often, children who have faced bullying suffer from anxiety, depression, and self-harm. Throughout the years, there have been many suicides as a result of bullying.
The victim’s self-esteem may become damaged, as well as their ability to relate and build relationships with others.
Children who are being bullied are often quick to withdraw from their relationships with other people. This, though a sign of bullying, may make it especially challenging to identify.
Identify a child’s social habits. Are they withdrawing? Do they have limited friendships? Have their social skills deteriorated recently?
The stress of being bullied is immense and often results in physical symptoms. The pressure can lead to irritability, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, changes in eating patterns and unexplained weight loss or gain.
How Can You Help?
The best way to help is to be vocal in your advocation.
Stand up strong against bullies – don’t give in to the peer pressure to either partake in the bullying or to silence yourself. Always be kind to the people around you.
Common character traits of bullies include low tolerance of frustration, trouble empathizing with other people, and they may even suffer from mental health issues themselves. If you notice they’re often extremely confrontational, then that could be a sign they may perpetuate bullying.
Assess your children and their personalities and encourage them to help make a positive change, as opposed to a negative one.
Things to Remember
Being a kid is TOUGH.
Everybody is trying to find their way, meet new friends, and get good grades. Instead of making life harder for the people around you, try to lift them higher!
Bullying has long-term effects, and you can drastically hurt people if you’re not careful.
It’s your own responsibility to stand up for what’s right – and it’s up to you to speak up and prevent bullying every chance you get.
Written by Celina Dawdy