How do I deal with someone who is being mean and bullying me?

By Kaz Cooke
From the latest edition
of Girl Stuff 8-12

How do I deal with someone who is being mean and bullying me?

Ignoring meanness is hard: it doesn’t always make it go away, and it doesn’t stop it hurting. Even if you walk away or don’t show a reaction, inside you can still feel crushed or furious. And that’s an understandable and normal reaction. Sometimes anti-bullying tactics work, but sometimes they don’t. Some will work sometimes, or on some bullies. (I mean, how can you ‘avoid them’ if they’re in your class ALL day?)

Some ideas to try:

  • Ignore them. Don’t react, don’t reply, look right through ’em, walk away. Feel free to smile silently, or roll your eyes.
  • Be assertive: stick up for yourself. Imagine them standing there with a big dollop of dog poo or sloppy seagull poo on their head they don’t know about.
  • Confuse them. Sing loudly, recite poetry or comedy, and shout: ‘Yes, the lobster army is marching! To the barricades!’ They’ll say, ‘You’re crazy,’ ‘Ooh, woolly hats akimbo!’ Bullies are often unsettled when confused.
  • Stay positive: focus your mind on people who love you, good times you’ve had and all the things you like about yourself.
  • Threaten to tell an adult. Tell the adult.
  • Learn a self-defence martial art so you feel more physically confident about defending yourself against physical violence if necessary.
  • Hang out in a group: several people against a bully can work.
  • Tell the harasser in person, to stop. You might want to be with a parent or teacher when this happens, or get them to help you send a message in response to a rude or horrible post on social media. If it’s on social media, block them if you can.

There’s much more about meanness and bullying in the book Girl Stuff 8–12: Your Real Guide to the Pre-Teen Years.