Dealing With Bullies
Have you ever met a bully? A bully is a boy or girl who acts mean or hurtful to others. Bullies pick on someone else as a way to get power, or to get their way, or to feel important.
Bullies sometimes hit, kick, or push to hurt people, and they sometimes use words to call names, tease, or scare them. A bully might say mean things about someone, grab a kid's stuff, make fun of someone, or leave a kid out of the group on purpose. Some bullies threaten people or try to make them do things they don't want to do.
Bullying Is a Big Deal
Having bullies around can take the fun out of school. Some kids feel afraid to go to the lunchroom, the bathroom, or the playground because of bullies. It's hard to keep your mind on schoolwork or enjoy your friends when you're worried about how you're going to get around the bully near your locker. Bullying bothers everyone — and not just the kids who are getting picked on. No one likes a bully.
Why Do Bullies Act So Bad?
Some bullies are just looking for attention. They might think bullying is a way to be popular or to get what they want. Most bullies are trying to make themselves feel more important — when they pick on someone else, it makes them feel big and powerful.
Some bullies come from families where everyone is angry and shouting all the time. They may think that being angry, calling names, and pushing people around is a normal way to act. Some bullies are copying what they've seen someone else do. Some have been bullied themselves.
Sometimes a bully knows that what he or she is doing or saying hurts other people. But other bullies may not really know how hurtful their actions can be. Most bullies don't understand or care about the feelings of others.
Bullies often pick on someone they think they can have power over. They might pick on kids who get upset easily or who have trouble sticking up for themselves. Getting a big reaction out of someone can make bullies feel like they have the power they want. Sometimes bullies pick on someone who is smarter than they are or different from them in some way. Sometimes bullies just pick on a kid for no reason at all.
What to Do About Bullying
Bullying can be a big pain, but you don't have to let bullying get the best of you and your buddies. Here are some things to try if you're bothered by a bully:
What Happens to Bullies?
In the end, most bullies wind up in trouble. If they keep acting mean and hurtful, sooner or later they may have only a few friends left — usually other kids who are just like them. The power they wanted slips away fast. Other kids move on and leave bullies behind.
Some kids who bully blame others. But every kid has a choice about how to act. Some kids who bully realize that they don't get the respect they want by threatening others. They may have thought that bullying would make them popular, but they soon find out that other kids just think of them as troublemaking losers.
The good news is that kids who are bullies can learn to change their behavior. Teachers, counselors, and parents can help. So can watching kids who treat others fairly and with respect. Bullies can change if they learn to use their power in positive ways.
Some bullies realize that they need to change their behavior if they want to earn more respect and have more friends. Some bullies need to learn how to control their own angry feelings. In the end, whether bullies decide to change their ways is up to them. Some bullies turn into great kids. Some bullies never learn.
But no one needs to put up with a bully's miserable behavior. If you or someone you know is bothered by a bully, get an adult to help. No one deserves to be bullied and there are plenty of ways to get a bully to buzz off!