What can I do?

QuestionI am being bullied at school. What should I do?

Answer
  • Walk away from conflict situations.
  • If you’re scared try not to show it. Stay calm.
  • Talk to your parents or an adult you can trust. It usually takes an adult to step in to stop bullying.
  • Talk to your friends and tell them what's going on. They can help by listening and by being there with you if bullying is happening.
  • Report the bullying to a teacher or school counsellor
  • Try to remember and write down details – dates, times when things happened, who was involved. Describe what happened and what was said.
  • Try not to fight back or show you are angry. If the person knows they are getting to you, they may keep doing it.
  • It is perfectly normal to feel like crying but, if you can, try your best to hold it in. Your tears will probably only satisfy the person bullying. It is better to release your feelings in a private place with someone who cares about you, like a friend or family member.
  • Stay in a group as much as possible.
  • Spend time doing things that you enjoy to keep your mind off the situation. Enjoy your hobbies and being with your friends
  • If you can, change your routes or times for walking from or to school.
  • Try not to give a reaction. People who bully may get bored if you appear calm and like it's not bothering you.
  • Sometimes cracking a joke or laughing can help to defuse a situation.
  • Try to look confident, hold your head up high, make eye contact with people and walk with confidence. People who bully are less likely to target someone who looks confident.
  • Don’t resort to violence, it will only cause more problems.
  • Don’t suffer in silence, get help as soon as possible.
  • Be as specific as you can when you describe the problem to an adult. Stick to the facts. If you need the support of friend, have someone with you when you talk about the problem.
  • Describe to the adult/teacher how this bullying is affecting you. It is important that they know how you are feeling at this time so they can find help for you.
  • If you feel that you are not being listened to, keep talking about the problem or go to someone else until you feel like you are really being heard.

QuestionAre there other things I can do or say that might help?

Answer

 

  • Be clear when making requests or asking for things, say what you need or want.
  • When you can, plan ahead and think about what you are going to say or ask for.
  • Keep things short and to the point, e.g. ‘That’s my phone, I need it,’ ‘You are out of order, I don’t have time for this,’ ‘Get lost,’ or ‘I really don’t care what you think.’
  • Remember you can ask for things confidently without sounding angry.
  • When you say no, say it firmly.
  • Try not to get caught up in arguments and try not to be angry if you don’t get your own way.
  • If you are being physically attacked, get away as quick as possible. Shout out so others will hear you. Place your school bag in front of you for protection. If you are forced to the ground, try to roll into a ball to protect your head, stomach and chest.
  • Report physical assaults to someone in authority as soon as possible. If you are in school or at a club let adults know as soon as you can.
  • If you are being physically assaulted, it may be helpful to take lessons in self defence or martial arts. This may give you the confidence to protect yourself from physical harm, Remember though, use what you learn only as self defence. Always get away from a physical fight as soon as you can. If someone else gets hurt, this will be a problem for you as well as the injured person.
  • If someone is hounding you for an answer, you don’t have to give it straight away. Say ‘I need more time to think about this’ or ‘I haven’t made my mind up yet.’
  • Don’t agree to do things if you feel pressured or your gut instinct says no.
  • Look confident, stand up tall, look the person in the eye. If you are hunched up and look in victim mode they may keep pressing you until they get what they want
  • Use assertive statements like ‘You’re wasting my time’, ‘That’s your opinion’, ‘Whatever you think, it doesn’t bother me’ or ‘Do I look like I care?’ Practise saying this to yourself. When you practise it, you will feel more confident about saying it and then walking away in a real situation.

‘Write about what is happening. I remember in national school we had a 'Bullying Box' and kids wrote down stuff that was happening so the teachers would know. For me though, just writing about it kind of helped. It felt like I wasn’t carrying the problem in my head so much.’

Ciara, 14

 

QuestionI am nervous about asking for help. What if it just gets worse?

AnswerIt's good to talk with friends, they may be able to support you, but adult help is needed in order to get the best results.

Most adults know a lot about bullying and how to overcome it. Even if they don’t know what to do straight away, they will want to help you sort it out. If you go to an adult who doesn’t know what to do, find someone else who does.

There is no need to be embarrassed as many people are bullied and we all need help at times. Talking about bullying is not ‘telling tales’ or ‘snitching’.

You have a right to be safe and free from harassment or attacks.

No one should be silent about bullying. It’s a big issue so don't be scared about speaking out. The adults you talk with will most likely understand your worries. Trust that they will be discreet about the problem.

Say to whoever you choose to talk to if you're scared about making the report and that you think the bullying will get worse when you report it. Adults should take this into account when they are dealing with it. When dealing with the person bullying, the adults may not need to say where the information has come from. Even if the person bullying does find out you made reports, you will be safer. People who bully thrive on secrecy and thinking they are getting away with it.

Chances are you are not the only person being bullied. When you speak out you are probably helping other people too.

For someone who bullies, secrecy is their best weapon. Breaking the silence is the most important part in overcoming or ending the bullying.

Remember  

  • Bullying can happen to anyone.
  • It is not your fault.
  • There is nothing wrong with you.
  • No one should have to put up with bullying.
  • You don’t have to face this on your own.

QuestionCan I get help from my school?

AnswerThe Department of Education recommends that all schools have an Anti-Bullying Policy in place. Bullying is a serious issue and should never be ignored. Information about your school policy should be available to you. If it’s not, ask for it.

Your school’s Anti-Bullying Policy may have information about types of bullying, your rights and responsibilities and what steps the school will take in dealing with bullying.

Your school may have a ‘Buddy System’ or a ‘Mentoring Programme’ where older pupils are trained in ‘listening skills’ and act as a support person for students who may need it.

Talk with your teacher or school counsellor about the problem you’re having.

Be sure to talk with your parents/carers also. If you feel you’re not getting enough help at school, your parents or another trusted adult may be able to help you with this.

QuestionSome days I just feel angry and want to fight back. Maybe this will put an end to it?

AnswerWhile fighting back may seem like self defence, it could only make things worse for you. You are at risk of physical danger or of causing hurt to someone else.

Fighting back will not stop the problem. By becoming involved in fights, you are just involving yourself in anti-social behaviour. If you are physically assaulted by someone, defend yourself as much as you can, shout for help and get away from the situation as quickly as possible.

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