Cyber bullying is a bear of a problem to deal with on your own, but sometimes the first thing you need to do is figure out how to handle it yourself. It’s tempting to let the school system or a parent’s intervention solve the problem for you, but it’s important to first try to work these problems out on your own first.
If all else fails, then it’s time get an adult involved, but give it a try – you might surprise yourself with what you’re capable of. Here are a few steps to stop a bully in their tracks.
- Get Confident
Before you can even begin to stop the bullying, you need to do some internal examination. Why did the bully “choose” you? More often than not, bullies prey on kids that have low self confidence. They see someone they can victimize, and they jump into predator mode.
Make yourself a less appealing victim by figuring out where your self esteem problems lie. The bottom line is, you can’t effectively stand up for yourself if you don’t believe in yourself. I mean, come on, what’s really so bad about you that some bully thinks they can tease you about it?
Take a look at those things that another person thinks they can use to hurt you, and understand that almost all of them probably make you more original than the jerk who’s teasing you about them. Things like physical appearance are a matter of perspective, and the world is quickly learning that beauty is most astounding when it’s different.
Personality differences or “nerdy” interests only serve to make you unique – don’t be ashamed of them, own it! Anything anyone can tease you for today can just as easily be the hottest trend tomorrow – never let someone else shape your opinion of yourself.
- Have a little perspective
It’s easy for bullying to really wear on you, and that’s totally normal, but also remember that everything passes, and even this crummy phase won’t last forever. Most of us have been bullied before (I know I have), and in most cases, it wasn’t a noteworthy part of our lives – we just met some jerks, dealt with the jerks, and moved on.
The thing is, one day you’re going to be done with school, and if you’re like most people, you’ll never see those people again. Better yet – it’ll be up to you whether you even want to or not. One day you’ll be an adult with kids and a job, and you’ll look back on it, and it will all seem so ridiculous and silly.
Trends change, and people are constantly adjusting their idea of just what ‘cool’ is, but being a good decent human being always stays the same – one day, those bullies will look back on this part of their lives in shame.
One thing’s for sure, bullying isn’t cool, and society has grown pretty intolerant of it. Stand your ground and get through it, but know that it matters little in the scheme of things.
- Be a robot
One easy way to take the steam out of a bully is to stop letting them get to you. Easier said than done I know, but it’s incredibly true that when they pick on you, they’re doing it to get a reaction, so don’t give them the satisfaction.
Ignoring them is a great way to deflate their ego some – if they say something snarky to you, look down your nose at them for a brief second, and then look away. Have a look on your face that says, “You are a child, and until you start acting like a big boy, I’m not acknowledging you.”
- Turn the tables
Another way to throw a bully a curve ball is to do the opposite of ignore them. This tactic could infuriate an instigator, but it’s actually kind of a funny way to push back. Kill them with kindness.
The next time they say something about your appearance or personality, sit down with them, with your chin in your hand quite thoughtfully, and play therapist with them.
“How does that make you feel?”
“Does it bother you that I have so many freckles?”
“Have you tried crocheting or interacting with nature to help you manage these feelings?”
It sounds absurd, but it works, and it turns things back around on a bully, and more often than not makes them feel stupid for saying anything in the first place. This isn’t the delicate advice of a parent talking here – this is the seasoned advice of a pro bully-diffuser. Make them feel like an idiot.
- Don’t back down
This last one is probably one of the hardest ones, but one of the most important. If all else fails and you would like to take the most direct approach possible, it’s time to put it all together and put your foot down.
Bullies seek out easy targets, victims that aren’t going to give them too much trouble. Be more trouble than they’re worth. Summon that confidence, banish your emotions, and tell them to back off. Tell them only a coward tried to push other people around, and that you’re nobody’s doormat.
Of course, we never advocate for violence, and if you’re worried that that could be the result of this encounter, it’s best to have this conversation in a public place with lots of adults to monitor things.
If you’re dealing with a cyber bully, use the public forum aspect of it to further buffer you from an aggressive response – you might be surprised at how many people jump in to defend you.
Nobody likes to deal with a bully, but in truth, you’re always going to have to deal with unpleasant people in life. If it gets to the point of violence, it’s time to get somebody else involved, or if these steps do nothing to diffuse the situation.
However, it’s important in the process of asserting yourself to make it your own doing – be an immovable force, be something no bully wants to mess with, and be stone cold – never let them get to you. This is all so temporary, so fleeting, and before you know it you’ll be sailing out of high school and watching your classmates disappear into their own lives.
Know that you’re never alone, and that no matter what social standards are at play in your school, most people despise bullies. Don’t let them hide behind a private message – take the discussion out into the open, and show your peers that you’re not going to take it.