Growing up today is a lot harder than it used to be, and horror stories of teen bullying are everywhere. Dr. Janell Dietz, author of the new book Motivation to Sensation, is also a school counselor, and has witnessed firsthand the devastating impact that bullying can have on kids.
Dietz says that at least one-third of teens are experiencing some form of bullying right now, including: name calling, manipulation, physical abuse, gossip and rumors, mocking, and cyber bullying.
Dietz says bullying is a crime and has led to many deaths and suicides, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly even at the smallest sign it is going on.
She says that 77 percent of students have been bullied mentally, physically or verbally; and each day 160,000 students miss school out of fear of being bullied. Based on her experience working with kids, she offers these suggestions:
- Bullies pick out victims they see as weaker than themselves. When confronted, ignore the bully, walk away and show no facial reaction. The bully is looking for the entertainment of seeing your face turn red, angry expressions, and yelling in protest. Do not give the bully the satisfaction of knowing he or she got to you.
- Report the bully to your boss, school counselor, religious leader or basically anyone in an authority role.
- If you are being cyber bullied, show the emails to your parents or guardian. Do not respond to the emails and block the person from having contact with you on all social media sites. The cyber bully is trying to provoke you and if you keep going back and forth with more anger each time, you will lose the battle.
- You never want to show a bully that he or she did in fact stir you up, but relieving that anger is important for your emotional health. Go to the gym, use a punching bag, talk to a friend, pray about it, do something to boost your self-esteem, or whatever works for you.
- Start a club or school organization and make it known your school and community has a no bullying policy. Bullies are going to find it harder to target kids who make it known they won’t allow themselves to become a victim.