Teen bullying sucks. As a teacher, I witnessed many situations that were awful for all those involved. While the internet and social media are great tools to instantly connect with other human beings, they are also great ways for bullies to torment their victims. Many parents and school staff, who know little about cell phones and social media, have no idea how much bullying is actually occurring. When they were younger bullies were more “out in the open.”
One year, my former school brought in an anti-bullying speaker. She was totally focused on solving every problem for the victims of bullying. She kept referring to the victims and how much they needed helped. Of course, she was the one doing the helping. And, what about when she wasn’t even there?
While adults need to do everything they can to protect those who are bullied, the best way to stop bullying is to empower the victims. And, part of that means to stop speaking in terms of victims.
It’s very easy to get in a mindset where we feel attacked and victimized. Those feelings are very real since bullies do genuine harm to their victims. But, to start to embrace and internalize the victim label is the worst thing a young person could do.
If you are being bullied, you absolutely need to tell a trusted adult and get help. But, you also absolutely need to remember that you are NOT a victim. You are a strong person who refuses to be a victim to anyone. This attitude is the first step towards successfully combating bullying.
If your parent, guidance counselor, or other authority figure tries to keep you in a victim’s mindset, kindly remind them that while you value their help, you aren’t a victim. Regardless of your age, you are strong.