This week’s Ask Annie questions were somewhat lengthy, since both adults and children sent in their queries about being bullied.
Seeing as our country does not do much standing up for the Downtrodden, Annie decided to explain what Bullying is, before heading on to giving solutions.
The most common definition of bullying is, ‘a repeated oppression, psychological or physical, of a less powerful person by a more powerful person or group of persons. ‘Bullying is different from aggression between people of equal power. However, someone can have less power than others for many reasons – being shy, being different, lacking confidence, having problems at home, or lacking physical strength.
Bullying behaviour occurs in schools, sports, youth groups, work places, social groups, senior centers, and online activities. It can occur anywhere people gather, either in the real world or the virtual world. Bullying takes place between people of all ages and walks of life. Young people who are being bullied are especially likely to feel trapped and alone because they usually don’t have a choice about where they live, go to school, or play.
Q: My son is a little small made and shy. He is the youngest in our family, and while we all love him to bits, he has often complained that he is being bullied in the school van on his way to and from school. He said there is one boy in the van who always calls him names and steals his food. What should I do?
A: First of all, you should notify the van driver of this in such a way that he will be discreet about it. If you try to directly interfere, your son will be bullied even worse. If you think this is affecting your child’s mental health, it’s best to completely remove him from the environment with which he is being bullied. However, also teach him to stand up to himself.
Q: I am attending an international school, both boys and girls, and I am being bullied everywhere because I am fat. Some of the boys and girls in school call me Fatso. It is very embarrassing and I have tried to stop eating, but I have always been fat. What do I do?
A: First of all, there is nothing wrong with you. Just because you’re not the size others expect of you does not mean there’s something wrong with you. It shows that there’s something wrong with the bullies. Bullying is wrong and it shouldn’t be happening to you. No one has the right to hurt you or make you feel bad and you don’t have to put up with it, you can talk to someone about it. If you are being bullied, tell a friend, tell a teacher and tell your parents. Or you have another option. Embrace it. If they feel that you aren’t affected by it, they will stop. Remember that everyone has the right to live, work, study and play in an environment free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence. No one deserves or asks to be bullied.
Q: I have often witnessed a lot of children being bullied in my school, but I’m afraid to step in for fear of being bullied myself. Sometimes, I just laugh a bit and walk away. But this makes me feel really bad. What do I do?
A: Don’t be an audience! Bullies will feel that they can get away with it if others laugh or even just watch. If you see someone bullying and you don’t feel that it is safe to stop it- walk away, don’t stand by. Tell an adult, or use the school’s comment box or confidential email reporting system.
You could suggest setting up a ‘peer mediation scheme’ in your school. This is where young people are given training to support other children in the school. You could volunteer to be involved
Look out for the person you know is being picked on. Make friends with them, or walk with them in lunch queues or corridors.
Bullies think twice about being mean if someone has supporters.
(Having relationship problems? Parental Problems? Or even simple social situations that confuse you? Send an email to Annie at email@example.com with your woes and needs and Annie will provide solutions)