Bullying is repeated and deliberate aggressive behaviour intended to harm, intimidate, or dominate another person or group who is perceived as weaker or more vulnerable. In schools, it often involves a power imbalance, where the bully uses strength, social status, or influence to control or manipulate the other student. Bullying can take various forms, including physical, verbal, social, and cyberbullying. It can occur in various settings, such as schools, workplaces, online platforms, and social environments.
Key characteristics of bullying include:
Repetition: Bullying involves repeated instances of negative behaviour or actions over some time, rather than a one-time occurrence.
Intention: The bully’s actions are purposefully meant to hurt, harm, or distress the target.
Harm: Bullying causes emotional, psychological, or physical distress to the target. It can lead to feelings of fear, anxiety, humiliation, and isolation.
Negative Impact: The target’s overall well-being is negatively affected by the bullying, leading to a decline in mental health, self-esteem, and social interactions.
How to Cope With Bullying in School
Coping with bullying on campus can be challenging, but there are several strategies you can employ to help navigate this difficult situation. Bullying can have serious emotional and psychological effects, so it’s important to prioritize your well-being. Here are some steps you can take:
Stay Calm and Confident: It’s essential to maintain your composure when dealing with bullies. Keep your emotions in check and stand tall. Bullies often target those who appear vulnerable.
Safety First: If the bullying involves physical harm or poses a threat to your safety, don’t hesitate to seek help from campus security or law enforcement. Your safety is paramount.
Document Incidents: Keep a record of all instances of bullying. Note dates, times, locations, and descriptions of the incidents. This documentation can be valuable if you need to report the bullying to authorities.
Talk to Someone: Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, teacher, counsellor, or any other supportive individual. Talking about your experience can provide emotional relief and help you gain perspective.
Report to Authorities: If the bullying persists or escalates, report it to the appropriate campus authorities, such as a counsellor, teacher, or principal. They are trained to handle such situations and can intervene on your behalf.
Practice Assertiveness: Stand up for yourself calmly and assertively without resorting to aggression. Use strong body language and confident verbal responses to discourage further bullying.
Build a Support Network: Surround yourself with friends who uplift and support you. A strong support network can provide emotional strength and help you feel less isolated.
Engage in Activities: Pursue your hobbies and interests outside of the bullying situation. Engaging in activities you enjoy can boost your self-esteem and provide a positive outlet for stress.
Practice Self-Care: Take care of your physical and mental well-being. Engage in regular exercise, maintain a balanced diet, get sufficient sleep, and practice relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing.
Seek Professional Help: If the bullying is severely affecting your mental health, consider reaching out to a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counsellor. They can provide guidance and coping strategies.
Explore Conflict Resolution: If you feel comfortable, try discussing the issue with the bully in a controlled environment, with a mediator present if necessary. Sometimes, open communication can lead to understanding and resolution.
Stay Online-Mindful: If cyberbullying is involved, limit your engagement with social media platforms where the bullying is taking place. Block or unfollow the individuals involved, and report abusive content.
Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your campus’s policies on bullying and harassment. You have the right to an education in a safe and respectful environment.
Remember that coping with bullying takes time, and different strategies might work for different situations. It’s important to prioritize your well-being and take steps to protect yourself. If the bullying persists despite your efforts, don’t hesitate to seek external support and guidance.
Credit: UNSW Newsroom – UNSW Syd
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