I recently wrote an article for Family Culture titled “How to Handle Bullies”. Unfortunately, some miscommunication happened and the wrong name was placed on the article, but they were gracious enough to announce the error. I wanted to post the original article on here with my name on it, so I am able to see it for myself. Sadly, there will be no magazine copy of this article which is heartbreaking for me, but I have also learned how to professionally handle a situation like this. Here is my original piece!
By Beth Winze
Hollywood has always pitted the villains against the good guys. In the end, the good guy wins, eliminating the bully and saving the world. But what Hollywood has failed to acknowledge is that in the real world, the good guys do not always win. And the bullying isn’t controlled by fists and pure strength any longer. It has transitioned as the centuries have and this century has found bullies’ utilizing social media as their weapon.
It is hard being a teenager. Between keeping up school grades, sleep schedules, extracurriculars, and friendships, teenagers have little time to spend fretting over how others treat them. The end of a school day no longer means the end of a bully’s tirades. Carrying phones around permits constant access to social media sites increasingly damages one’s emotions. They are unable to escape bullying when phone notifications consistently alert of social activity. It takes a certain measure to stop a bully’s reign over someone. Unfortunately, we live in an era where someone’s words can slash or shape up a reputation in a matter of seconds – just as a positive or negative review on a movie determines its success in the box office. Bullies are becoming progressively shrewd in their strategies of hurting others. Anti-bullying programs have been set in place to catch the bullies and eliminate their violent and demeaning actions, but as prodigious as the efforts are, they fail to catch everyone.
Knowing how to stop a bully from continuing his or her actions against you is crucial. Being able to stand up for yourself and take charge while avoiding becoming a bully yourself is an incredible social skill to have in place. Certain steps can be taken to avoid further harm to you because of a bully. It is possible to end a bully’s control over you. All you have to do is present yourself in a nonviolent manner.
- Stand up for yourself
Fists don’t have to fly for one to be able to defend yourself. Often times letting others know how their words hurt you and make you feel is enough to catch them off guard. Bullies are looking for an excuse to dig under someone’s skin, and responding with a matched anger would only make them the winner. Be the better person by letting them know they are hurting you and you wish them to stop. People cannot argue with your feelings. Owning your feelings by using “I” words, such as “I feel this way…..” or “I don’t like it when….” makes it a personal experience. When it’s is your emotions people cannot fight how you feel, no matter how hard they try. Weigh each word before you say it as not to become verbally demeaning to the bully. Don’t lose your morals because a bully instigated you.
- Keep a level head and calm heart
When I was little, I was always told to take ten deep breaths when I felt myself getting angry. In situations where you are being bullied taking deep breaths can be enough to calm you down and allow clear rationale and smarter resolutions. Do not authorize the bully’s craving. Staying composed is pivotal in allowing you to handle the situation in the best way possible.
- Walking away is best
Knowing when to walk away is key. Bullies are established in their ways and will not let anything stop them. Merely turning and walking the other way is enough to make them leave you alone. They will not elicit the anger the want from you and they will ultimately leave you alone. Bullies are all about attention and reaction, and if you deny them that, they are no longer in control of you. You then take the upper hand.
- Talking to an adult
Calmly explaining the situation to a trusted adult can help immensely. A fellow friend trying to help may have the right intentions, but could lead to snowballing the already existing drama. Someone that is not emotionally involved in the situation can deliver strong guidance while also looking out for your best interest.
- Keep your settings to private.
Cyber-bullying is regrettably one of the most prevalent ways of harassment. When someone gets behind a keyboard, they somehow believe they are invincible. This type of bullying can hurt the worse. Not only are you able to see it, but others are also able to view painful comments, Tweets, or messages. Do not respond to a bully’s comments online. If you show how angry or hurt you are through comments, they will only know they accomplished their task. Deleting these comments or reporting them to the social media site is exceedingly effective in getting them removed. It also sends red flags to the site allowing them to shut down that person’s account or suspend them for a period of time. Setting your accounts to private also sanctions you to screen who you friend and don’t friend. You are able to monitor and regulate the people who have access to your pictures, tweets and statuses. Not consenting the bullies to perceive your private life can defend you from their severe comments and offensive statuses.
By refusing to participate in a bully’s cycle, you can not only stop yourself from getting bullied, but your friends and peers as well. Setting a peaceable example of controlling a bullying situation can inspire an effective revolution in how he or she treats you. In the end, being the superior person by creating armistice instead of aggression is what will stop a bully in their tracks. Refusing to stoop to a bully’s level is what makes you the real winner in the end.