Celebrate and Support Pink Shirt Day: 5 Ways to Deal with Bullies
Today, February 24th, is Pink Shirt Day, an anti-bullying initiative that began in Nova Scotia by two Canadian high schoolers David Sheperd and Travis Price. Nobody likes to be picked on, to be emabarassed in front of their peers. When a peer of theirs was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school, Travis, David, and their friends held gathered in pink shirts to protest the overwhelming influence of bullies in the high school arena.
The US government defines bullying as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.” (http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/)
To show support for Pink Shirt Day, and all children around the globe who are made to feel less than amazing for expressing themselves, we here at Bloomin’ have put together 5 Ways to Deal with Bullies:
1. Try not to react. Bullies tend to feed off of fear and agitation. The next time you come up against a bully try to remain as calm as possible- that old addage about ignoring someone and they will go away actually works!
2. Smile and offer to help. Many bullies are just replicating behavior they see at home or are expressing some inner saddness or resentment. Ask your bully if there is anything you can do to help make them feel better, or try to break through their barrier by providing some information about yourself first.
3. Tell someone. While “tattle tailing” isn’t necessarily what we are suggesting, it can be extremely helpful to have an older sibling, friend, teacher, or parent simply walk you to class or even speak to the other child’s parent, who may not be aware of the situation at all.
4. Sign Off. It can be especially difficult to tear ourselves away from a dimly lit screen. Yet, if the bullying is Cyber Bullying sometimes the most effective way to handle the situation is simply to sign off and stay off for a few days until the bullies lose their steam.
5. Be Honest. The most powerful tool we have is our voice- use it! Speak your truth and explain why you are doing/wearing/saying/promoting what you are. Talk to the bully, get them interested. If this doesn’t work tell them how they have hurt you, what it has felt like. Ask them to STOP.
Growing up is one of the hardest things about life; however, learning not to care what others think is even harder. Remember that being yourself is the bravest thing one can do in the face of an aggressor. Be Authentic, Be Brave, Be You.