1. Know your worth
Understanding that the things bullies say and do are typically driven by their own insecurities, and don’t actually have anything to do with you as a person, is a major key to overcoming bullying. They say things that may or may not be true in an effort to weaken you emotionally so that you’re too beaten down to stand up to them. They’ll find those little things that really bother you and use them against you. This is why it is extremely important to understand that you are not defined by the opinions of others. The saying “hurt people, hurt people” has always been true, because bullies try to expose your weaknesses and insecurities in order to hide their own. If you recognize this it can go a long way to giving you the confidence you need to stand up for yourself.
2. Power in numbers
This truth goes both ways; whether you are a bully, victim, or bystander. When a bully does something, and the bystanders don’t stand up for the victim, the bully has the power of numbers. Likewise, when a bully does something, and the bystanders take the side of the victim, the power of numbers goes to the victim. The bully will be outnumbered and back down. If you are the victim, and the bystanders don’t do anything, call them out. Especially if they’re your friends. They need to know that it’s not okay to just stand by and watch someone be bullied. If you are a bystander it is extremely important that you choose the right side. Be aware of when other kids are being treated poorly, and stand up for them. You would want others to do the same for you.
3. Laugh it off
This probably seems counterintuitive, like it would anger a bully if you laugh at them, but in most cases it can preempt any escalation in a conflict. It lets the aggressor know that you aren’t bothered by what they said or did, and that they don’t have any power in the situation. For instance, someone who picks on others makes fun of you for tripping. Instead of getting emotional or upset, laugh at yourself! You tripped, big deal. Making a joke takes the power from the bully, who is seeking the approval of your peers, and puts it into your hands. If you were to respond emotionally, the bully would see that as an indication that you are a prime target for further bullying because they’ll get the response from you they are looking for.
Even if your child isn’t currently being bullied, it’s important to have these conversations with them. If they know how to deal with bullies they can stop the situation before it escalates, and let bullies know that they don’t have any power or influence with them or their friends.
Your child’s safety and wellbeing is of the utmost importance to St. Barnabas. This is why we make it a priority to invest in the spiritual growth as well as the intellectual development of our students. Fostering a community of kindness and acceptance is a major part of our school culture, in partnership with our school wide anti-bullying policies.
Our mission is to challenge each student in a supportive environment that promotes academic excellence, sound moral values, and high self-esteem within a framework of God’s love.