Coping Mechanisms

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We all find different ways to deal with what trouble us.

The following excerpt was taken from a June 2004 Ensign article written by Rebecca M. Taylor, How to Beat Bullying:

Some people say being bullied is just a normal part of growing up. ‘Kids will be kids,’ they say. ‘They’ll get over it.’ Most teenagers like to joke around and tease each other, but when does teasing cross the line and become bullying, a behavior that can have serious long-term effects?

Matt Watson, a therapist with LDS Family Services, says a behavior can be called bullying ‘when there’s fear and intimidation or when someone says ‘Stop,’ but the behavior continues. There’s no acknowledgment of the victim’s feelings.’ Bullying can make people feel worthless, friendless, and alone.

Most experts agree that bullying is different among boys and girls. Boys tend to be more physically aggressive, while girls are more likely to use insults, to exclude other girls, or to spread rumors about them.

The effects of bullying can be devastating. According to Brother Watson, some kids who have been bullied have nightmares and feel helpless and anxious. Not only that, but they may have trouble relating to other people, and they often have feelings of low self-worth and depression—challenges that may follow them into adulthood.

If you see someone being bullied, it may be tempting to walk away, hoping the situation will take care of itself. But Bob Wiley, also a therapist with LDS Family Services, says bullying rarely stops unless someone else gets involved. ‘If you see someone being bullied and you do nothing, in some ways you’re contributing to the bullying,’ he says.

So what can you do to help?

Say something. If you are in a position to do so, say something like ‘Hey, knock it off’ or ‘Leave him alone.’ Of course, you must always look out for your own personal safety.

Tell an adult. If you say something but the bullying continues, or if you feel that telling a bully to stop might endanger your own safety, tell a responsible adult: a parent, teacher, principal, school counselor, or anyone else in a position of authority.

Brother Watson explains that telling someone in authority is not the same thing as tattling: ‘Tattling is to get someone in trouble. Telling is trying to get some help or to solve a problem.’

Reach out. Brother Watson points to the example of the good Samaritan, who cared for a man who had been beaten (see Luke 10:30–37). ‘He wasn’t in a position to confront the attackers, but he certainly dealt with the aftermath,’ he says.”

Bullying doesn’t just happen at schools or between children anymore. Adults do it just as easy, even though it’s more difficult to spot. I believe that nobody wants to think that it’s an acceptable behavior, but most people fail to recognize it when it happens.

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