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Bullying: Breaking Free

Bullying is the use of force, coercion, hurtful teasing or threat, to abuse, aggressively dominate or intimidate. The behaviour is often repeated and habitual. It can also be described as unwanted, aggressive behaviour among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Why do people bully others? Who is most likely to be a target? These questions will be answered in this article and tips to breaking free from bullying will be provided.

Bullying is no trivial matter. Quite a number of youths have committed suicide due to bullying. So it should not be taken lightly. Bullying includes more than physical assaults. It can also involve the following: Verbal attacks: some students can be brutal with their words. Some bullies resort to name calling which can make a person feel worthless and unwanted.

Social isolation: this involves being treated like an outcast or outsider. Bullies may may make it seem that there in no room at the lunch table for the person being bullied.

Cyberbullying. “With just a few keystrokes on a computer,” says 14-year-old Daniel, “you can ruin someone’s reputation—or even his life. It sounds like an overstatement, but it can happen!” Cyberbullying also includes sending harmful photos or text messages using a cell phone.

But one may ask, "Why do people bully others?" Here are some common reasons.
Who is most likely to be a target?

Loners. Some young people who lack social skills isolate themselves from others and become easy marks for bullies. Youths who are perceived as being different. Some youths are targeted by bullies because of their appearance, race, or religion or even because they have a disability—anything the bully can pick on.

Youths who lack self-confidence. Bullies can detect those who think negatively of themselves. These are often the easiest targets, since they’re not likely to fight back.

So what can you do if you’re bullied? Here are some helpful tips:

Don’t react. Bullies want to know that they’ve succeeded in making you feel bad about yourself. If you don’t react, they are likely to lose interest.

Don’t retaliate. Revenge will add to the problem, not solve it.

Don’t walk into trouble. To the extent possible, avoid people and situations where bullying may occur.

Use humor. For example, if a bully asserts that you’re overweight, you could simply shrug your shoulders and say, “I guess I could lose a few Kg!”

Walk away: Silence shows that you are mature and that you are stronger than the person harassing you. It shows self-control—something the bully doesn’t have.

Work on improving your self-confidence: Bullies notice when you are tensed up and they might use that to destroy whatever self-confidence you have.

Tell someone: report the bully to the appropriate authority. Bullies thrive on secrecy. Speaking up can be the first step to ending the nightmare.

When you put all these tips into use, you can beat a bully WITHOUT a fist.

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