10 Ways Students Can Stop Bullying
Over the last several years, there has been increased awareness of the importance to stop bullying in our schools and universities. As suicide rates contributed to bullying are higher than they should be, there is a larger number of students who are fed up with the negativity and ready to do something about it.
If you count yourself among those committed to stopping bullying in its tracks, there are 10 things you can do to affect the outcome and be the change you want to be. In the following article, we’ll be speaking in a little more detail about each one. This is not an either-or approach. Commit to all of them and watch bullies become buddies!
1. Refuse to Participate
This is the most obvious thing you can do to stop bullying. Don’t give it any oxygen in your life. Realize that by keeping to yourself and not joining in you’re halfway to overcoming the problem.
Bullying is a sign of mental and physical weakness. No one wants to be weak. You don’t, do you? Then, don’t even consider being a part of the “festivities.” Once you commit to shunning bullying altogether, you’re in a good position to fight against it, and that’s what we’ll be talking about in the remaining nine points.
2. Peer Pressure Against It
Peer pressure often gets used in a negative light. The thinking goes that you should resist peer pressure to avoid harmful and negative habits like drinking, drugs, or promiscuous sex. But peer pressure can also be used in a positive light. When you are committed to eradicating bullying, you can use that strength and brashness to win others to your cause.
If you see someone bullying another person, use peer pressure to highlight how lame and uncool it is to target another person for being different. You may not be able to influence the bully directly, but focusing on those you can influence may eventually be the catalyst in applying the right kind of peer pressure to those responsible for making others’ lives miserable.
3. Be the First to Introduce Yourself to New People
Being a buddy instead of a bully is a concept we’ve already introduced in this article. What’s the easiest way to do that?
Go to those who are new in town or new to your school and introduce yourself. You don’t have to be best friends right away, but you can show them you are a friendly face and approachable.
That way, if they ever do feel bullied by someone, they can come to you for conversation. You could be the person who gives them the strength and the insight to overcome it.
Bullying often happens because bullies are able to isolate their targets. If your target doesn’t feel isolated, then he or she will be in less of a position to become a victim.
4. Get Responsible Adults Involved
Some, if not all, bullying situations can be overcome when you get the right adults involved. This could be a teacher, parent, guidance counselor, police officer, or perhaps all four. Responsible adults who are aware of bullying situations will do their best to isolate the bully from the bullied and work to improve the situation.
5. Confront the Bully
We do not advocate violence, so please don’t think we’re telling you to go out and punch a bully in the mouth unsolicited. We don’t want you to become a bully. But it is often necessary to confront a bully in a strong and responsible way to let them know you know what they are doing, and it will not be tolerated.
This is much easier to accomplish if you have a large circle of influence or some position of responsible strength within the school. With the next point, we’ll be talking about the second thing you can do to apply pressure to the bully.
6. Confront Bully Enablers
Many bullies are able to function because of bully enablers. They have found themselves a group of people willing to cheer on or tolerate their shenanigans. This is weakness in its purest form, and it presents you with an opportunity if you are operating from a position of strength.
By confronting the enablers in their weakness, you can take away a bully’s audience and force them to reconsider their positions. They may come after you if they feel you are attacking them, but the more people you take away from them, the more likely they will feel too weakened to do so.
So, if you see someone egging a bully on or tolerating their abhorrent behavior, stand up and speak out.
7. Commit to Self-Improvement
Working on yourself can put you in a better and more confident position to confront bullies, stop being a bully, or build your own anti-bullying coalition that is able to adequately influence the behaviors of others. How do you commit to self-improvement?
Make a list of the things you don’t like about yourself or the things you want to improve in the coming months and years. Look up some of the best books on the subject. See if you can get audiobooks of those for faster consumption. Listen to podcasts as well. Download self-improvement apps that focus on your weaknesses.
Becoming a better you will not only make you better for yourself, it will make you better for others as well. And the stronger you are, the better you’ll be at stopping bullying at its source.
8. Lead an Effort
With a new and improved you, you might consider starting an anti-bullying campaign at your school or starting something called an “upstander club,” which is a club committed to positive messaging and acceptance of others who might otherwise be the targets for bullies.
There is always strength in numbers, so the more people you can drive behind the cause, the more successful it will be. If your school doesn’t already have something like this in place, reach out to your school guidance counselor and see what you can do about starting such an organization.
Many kids who would otherwise be bullied or be bully enablers might see such an effort as a chance to stand up and speak out. All it takes is one step!
9. Be a Friend to All
Being friendly to everyone you meet will make you more approachable. Being approachable gives you the opportunity to affect change in a strong yet passive manner. In other words, you don’t have to try very hard to stop bullying if you just commit to being the best version of yourself. You may even find yourself influencing bullies to become better people in the process.
10. Choose Nice Friends
Unfortunately, you can’t count on bullies to have a change of heart just because you’re a kind person. Sometimes they might even see that as a sign of weakness and begin targeting you. So don’t let others mistake your kindness for weakness.
Instead, find nice friends who “get it” and will be there to support you and lift you up and appreciate the good things about you. Building that coalition around you will help you avoid becoming a target and will set you up to become a positive force for change.
We May Never Stop Bullying Altogether
The drive to stop bullying may never go away, but we can make the victimization of others more of a social faux pas and bring it closer to pass. What are some things that you have done to help stop bullying at your school? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Wright-Patterson AFB]