Here are some tips for kids, and parents, to help them nip bullying in the bud before it blossoms painfully:
Make sure you ...
Always tell an adult. Tell trusted adults exactly what has happened-who did the bullying, where and when it occurred, how long it's been happening to you, and how it's making you feel. If you don't get support or the adults don't take you seriously, then tell another adult, a different teacher, your coach, or even your minister or rabbi. It is their job to help keep you safe. Most adults care about bullying and will do everything they can to help you.
Stay in a group. Kids who bully like to pick on kids who are by themselves a lot. It's easier for them, and the bullies are more likely to get away with their bad behavior. If you spend more time with other kids, you may not be an easy "target" and you'll have others around to help you if you get into a difficult situation.
Don't reply if you are being bullied on-line. This may actually make the bullying worse. Instead, be sure to tell a family member or another adult you trust. If possible, block any more communications from this person: it might be a good idea only to accept messages from people you know. Save evidence of the bullying. If you get a nasty e-mail, print it out or save it so that you can show it to an adult.
If you are bullied, make sure you don't ...
Think it's your fault. Nobody deserves to be bullied!
Fight back or bully a person back. This probably won't make things any better and it might get you into big trouble.
Keep it to yourself and just hope the bullying will go away. It's normal to want to try to ignore bullying and hope that it will stop, or hope that the person will start to pick on someone else. However, bullying often won't stop until adults and other kids get involved. So be sure to report the bullying.
Skip school or avoid clubs or sports because you're afraid of being bullied. Missing out on school or activities that you enjoy isn't the answer. You have a right to be there!
Think that you're a "tattle tale." Telling an adult you've been bullied is the right thing to do.
Hurt yourself. Some kids who are bullied get so sad and depressed that they may try to hurt themselves because they think there is nothing else they can do. This definitely isn't the answer. Talk with an adult immediately and tell them how you are feeling. They can help stop the bullying.
For you parents reading this, remember, awareness is the key to solving the problem of bullying. Adults need to be aware of what bullying looks like and then teach our children how to be proactive on their own behalf and for their friends. Only then can we start to diminish school violence.
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