Being a kid is tough – there’s no doubt about it. This may be the season in your life before taxes and mortgage payments, but the stress is real, and we get that. School is a monster on its own, but trying to balance that with the delicate social dance that often comes with it can be maddening.
There’s always going to be someone unpleasant to deal with
There’s always been a pecking order in school, and honestly, that doesn’t stop when you become an adult – for the rest of your life, people will try to assert their superiority, and you’ll have to learn how to handle those conflicts on your own. There will be grumpy coworkers, critical family members, and who knows, maybe even your own irritable child to deal with one day.
What I’m getting at here is, it’s perfectly normal for there to be some social turmoil in your life right now, because for the most part, there’s always going to be at least a little bit. But when does a little typical disagreement turn into bullying?
Is it bullying?
Lately the lines have become blurred, and social media has only served to further dramatize the situation. Aggressors have gotten bolder behind the safety and privacy of a computer monitor, and cyber bullying is the latest problem students are dealing with.
But what exactly is cyber bullying? It’s a commonly used buzz word these days, but really, it’s important to not over use it. While disagreements and even arguments are perfectly normal, it becomes cyber bullying when the instigator is relentless and persistent, going after someone repeatedly to demonstrate a perceived sense of superiority.
Notice that word, perceived? It means they think they’re superior, but really, a cyber bully is just a bully that’s found a convenient way to pick on others while hiding behind a keyboard. You’re always going to have problems getting along with someone, but if you’re dealing with a person like this, you’re dealing with someone who has a problem getting along with others, and it’s not normal behavior.
If someone is messaging or contacting you repeatedly online and saying mean things, it’s time to start thinking of solutions. These problems can be incredibly stressful, and it’s hard to know what to do. On the one hand, a lot of kids would like a parent or teacher to intervene, but this can cause a mess of its own sometimes, and a lot of times only delays the problem – the bully waits until things calm down a bit, then comes right back to what they were doing.
When it’s time to ask for help
Here’s the thing though – it’s okay to need help. It’s okay if you don’t know what to do or how to make it stop. Talk to your parents, or someone you really trust. Let them know what’s going on, and ask them what you should do to solve the problem.
A lot of parents are quick to handle problems for their kids, and while that’s great sometimes, make sure yours are listening to you, and helping in the way that’s best for you. If things get to a certain point, parental intervention can sometimes be necessary, but more often than not, it’s best if someone teaches you how to handle situations like this.
Standing up for yourself
After you’ve talked to somebody about the problem, it’s time to take charge of the situation. It can be hard when someone is picking at you constantly, but try to find your confidence. Remember that you are strong and smart, and that you don’t have to stand for this kind of treatment. Get in control of your emotions, and deal with the problem head on.
At this point, it’s really important to be direct. While it can definitely be uncomfortable, the grapevine isn’t going to do you any favors here, so it’s time to speak to the person who’s bullying you directly. Talk to your parents about how exactly to approach your unique situation, then be up front, confident, and direct. Put your foot down, stand up for yourself, and mean it.
It’s all easier said than done, I know, and admittedly this doesn’t always make the problem go away, but it’s definitely a start. In the end, dealing with cyber bullying is about talking to somebody you trust, standing up for yourself, and eliminating people that only make you feel bad – tell them you’re not going to be their doormat anymore, and remember that you deserve better.
There’s no one size fits all solution, and every situation is different and unique. These tips may not make your problem go away right away, but by projecting confidence (because yes, you are awesome) and standing up for yourself, you can not only keep the bullies at bay, but even inspire other kids to do the same.
On that note, I know as a kid just getting through school is something of an accomplishment, but it’s not just about avoiding the bad guys. If you ever notice another student getting bullied, whether in school or online, step in and help.
Maybe they just need someone to talk to, maybe they need an adult’s help and don’t know how to ask for it, or maybe that just need a friend to stand up for them. Either way, you can make someone’s day by being there for them when they feel alone and ostracized.
Never be afraid to stand up for anyone, not even yourself.