As a school counselor, I see this all too much in our profession. The emotional effect and trauma can cause lasting effects on the person that is experiencing it. But what we can do as humans is to become an advocate for all. Can you imagine the power in showing someone that they are not alone in this journey?
Pacer.org is an amazing resource to place in your toolkit. Advocating and promoting anti-bullying awareness weeks and/or months should not just be limited to those days. The advocating NEEDS to happen always! I want to reflect on the steps that Pacer.org describes in its Advocacy for Others section. But first I want to show something that paints a different picture for bullying and advocating for others. It shows what change can do for others and how we can all be a part of the solution. These videos are great for classroom discussions as well!
So now let’s explore a couple of ways on how we can help others who are experiencing bullying. For more ways to support others please visit Pacer’s Teens Against Bullying.
Be Available For Conversations
- Many students who are bullied choose not to disclose their experiences. They often internalize their pain, feeling nervous, afraid, or embarrassed. They may believe they have no one to confide in. If you are aware of someone experiencing bullying, show your support by encouraging them to open up about their feelings. Your aim should be to provide a listening ear rather than solving the issue. Being the first person they confide in can make a significant difference. Ask those guiding questions and listen without judging them. Remember that their lived experience is not the same as yours. When we do this, we are holding space for others.
Redirecting the Situation
- Studies indicate that peers have a significant impact when they intervene in a bullying scenario. A proactive and occasionally demanding approach involves redirecting the situation towards a more positive outcome. While it may require practice, preparation, and careful consideration, speaking out against a negative environment is not simple. However, research also demonstrates that when one person takes a stand, others are likely to follow suit. It is super important not to confront those that are getting bullied to become the hero. Redirecting is changing the narrative and creating a safe environment for the victim.
Let's stand up, speak out, and advocate for a culture of empathy and understanding in our schools and communities. Make the time to check out other ways to advocate for ALL and in the words of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, Make Some NOISE!