By Jennifer Wrubel, LCSW
With all the support that the schools and educators have for dealing with bullies, there is still a bully problem in our society. For the purpose of this article, I am focusing on verbal bullying. Bullies are still bullying even if they get in trouble, they get detention, they get grounded or sometimes even get kicked out of school. I believe that we will never have a “bully-free America.” But WE can become “bully free” meaning we don’t ever have to be the “victim” of a bully. Not everyone is the victim of bullying…what are they doing to avoid it? These “bully free” kids have the same qualities as others who get bullied for those qualities. One child can get bullied for wearing glasses or being overweight, yet another child could wear glasses and be overweight and never get bullied. Remember, it is not about your looks, your personality, your intelligence, there are many kids just like yourself who don’t get teased! Why is that, you may wonder? You may be getting angry, sad, furious, etc. and trust me I can understand that, it’s human, you want them to stop, that is human too but the action that is not working is that you are trying to make them stop! Most of the time it just doesn’t work. Think about it, the grownups have not even been able to make them stop. You can call them names back, you can physically hurt them, you can tell an adult but often the bullying continues.
So let’s try something new.
If the reason you are being teased is because you are getting upset and giving the bully what they want…..let’s do the opposite! Again, if you believe as I do that getting upset by the teasing gets you teased more……then try to stop being upset! Bullies are happy when you are upset. Every time you get upset you are making them feel good and they want to continue to feel good so they will continue to bully you. Again, I want you to try not to get upset! You are probably wondering, how can I not get upset? Good question. We have to change the way we are understanding and looking at the teasing. Instead of thinking, “they are teasing me, this is unbearable, I have to make them stop, I can make them stop, I will show them!” we have to start thinking, if they want to tease me that’s okay. You might even have compassion for them. It’s sad that they get pleasure and have fun from hurting others. You can assume they are not a happy person and one who wants to make an unhappy person feel worse.
At first the Bully may continue to test you, it might even get worse before it gets better. Trust me, it will be hard but eventually they will stop when they are not getting the reaction they want from the bullying. When bullies don’t get the response they want, they usually stop. When you try and make them stop, it makes them feel better, not you. I want you try to really not get upset. If you are upset but acting like you are not, they will sense that. I am not saying this is easy and you may need support from others. If the problem doesn’t go away, going to counseling can be very helpful. The counselor can work with you to help you really not get upset by the bullies and eventually you will hopefully be a “bully free” person!
Remember, bullies want a reaction and that is what is fun for them and makes them continue to bully. Become “bully free” and stop helping bullies have fun! It’s like a game, every time the bully gets you upset and you react, they are winning! Remember, doing nothing is a HOME RUN!
My name is Jennifer Wrubel, I was a teacher and now I am a social worker. I have always enjoyed the company of children. While working with young people I realized how many kids need to be listened to instead of always being talked at. This led me get a second master’s degree and become a social worker. As a social worker I work with kids of all ages, parents of all ages and anyone else who wants to talk to me about things going on in their lives.
Please feel free to send me any questions you may have, any issue you would like me to discuss or any ideas you may have for me that will make your experience on this website even better! [email protected]