Standing up to bullying is a tough thing to do. Sometimes the bully is bigger than we are. Sometimes it is a group of people who are doing it and we feel outnumbered. Or, we are afraid of the one who bullies and their friends retaliating against us for reporting them. Whatever the reason is, we can stand up to bullying.
Earlier this month, I talked about what if your teen is the target of one who bullies and provided some ways for you to coach them. This week we are going to talk about the people who stand up to bullies. Whether it is the target or a bystander, both of these types of people are inspirational because standing up to bullying isn’t easy.
October is Bullying Prevention Month
According to Pacer.Org, one out of every five (20%) students report being bullied by someone. With this kind of statistic, we as parents, mentors, and caring adults need to start talking to teens and young adults about this issue and ways to prevent it.
We as a society need to start digging into what is causing this much bullying and try to fix those issues to prevent it from happening. This week I want to provide some tips and about how you can talk to the teen in your life about it and things we can do to understand the issue and work on solutions.
Ways to stop bullying
There are a few ideas on how to get bullying to stop.
Taking it into your own hands
Whether the target or the bystander takes it into their own hands, this can be either emotionally or physically challenging. In the movie Back to the Future, the character, George McFly is bullied by Biff Tannen. Biff is the traditional big brute and George is the weak looking nerdy guy. It takes George to punch Biff in the nose to get him to stop picking on him.
Remember, movies are a Hollywood version of real life, so what you see on tv is not always what you should do at home. I am not suggesting that getting physical with someone is the way to stop it, but sometimes it is the only way the bully sees that you are not one to be picked on. This method doesn’t work all of the time because it can make the person who bullies mad, or his friends can choose to retaliate on his behalf.
Sometimes a bystander or group of bystanders may tell them to stop. This takes an act of courage too. We shouldn’t be afraid to tell someone to stop doing what they are doing. And when we do, they should respect our request and just stop.
Reporting the bullying
Another method to get bullying to stop is to report it to someone, typically and adult. It can be hard for teens to do. Either, they feel that they are tattling or there will be retribution by the one who bullies or his friends if he or she find out.
There are many places to go to report bullying. The school has teachers, administrators and teen crisis groups available. And there are phone and online options outside of school that can help. One option is the Boys Town Hotline which is listed on my Resources page.
With so many sources of help available, why is bullying still such a problem?
As hard as it is to be a target of a bully, it seems to be just as hard to call the bully out on what they are doing. Teens are afraid to do it but doing nothing can be even harder and have long term emotional effects on the bystander. According to an inspirational Anti-Bullying quote on onlinesense.org,
“Bystanders who do nothing give bullies permission inadvertently to go on being bullies. Most are afraid they’ll lose friends or be bullied themselves if they help victims or report bullies, and some feel guilty for years afterward.”
Don’t be afraid to utilize any resources that can help you or someone you know. They are available to report the problem, start the conversation, and get some help to stop people from getting hurt or hurting themselves.
Talk to the bully and get their side of the story
We often hear about bullying incidents from the side of the target. We don’t often her the reason why the one who bullies has chose to bully someone. Most of the time the reason isn’t to be mean. They are dealing with frustrations in their own lives that they aren’t dealing with correctly. They decide to take their feelings out on someone else.
Take time to ask the one who is doing the bullying why they are doing it. And really listen to their response to your question. You may be surprised what happens when you let them talk about those feelings in a constructive way.
A recently published story by Selma P. Verde called Josh’s Story talks about a bullying event from the side of the one who bullies, Josh. It is a companion story to The Way Series. To get a free copy of this story, sign up for the Mentoring A Dream e-mailing list (see form at the bottom of this page) and receive a link to download a copy.
People who stand up to bullying are inspirational
It is hard to stand up and tell someone to stop picking on someone. But when you do it, you are doing something to help both the target and the one who bullies. The target is wondering why they are a target and the one who bullies is dealing with their issue the only way that feels right to them. It isn’t ok to pick one someone, but keep in mind, the one who is bullying is a victim in this too.
If you can stand up and tell them to stop or report it to someone who can, you are doing a good thing. And, your action may inspire someone else to stand up to bullying. If enough people stand up, we can stop people from getting hurt and get some help for those who bully others.
Talk to your teen about the options of how to stop those who bully. And ask them,
The next time you see someone picking on and bullying someone else, do you think you can stand up and tell them to stop? Or report the activity to an adult or crisis line?
Let me know what they have to say in the comments below.
Looking for resources to help your teens in areas other than bullying? Check out my list of resource links on my Resources Page.
Shawn’s Way – A teen’s approach to dealing with bullying
Looking for a great way to open the conversation with your teen about bullying? Have them read Shawn’s Way. It is a novel about Shawn Townson, a young high school freshman, who becomes the target of a bully. See how he navigates the stresses and what the outcome is for him by reading Shawn’s Way. And, to hear from the one who was doing the bullying, Josh, pick up a free copy of Josh’s Story.
Be sure to check out the books tab on Selma’s website for more information about Shawn’s Way, Josh’s Story and the other books in The Way Series.
Have a great week!