Are you being bullied because you’re deaf? Do you need to deal with bullies frequently in school? Bullying is frustrating and hurtful, and it can easily make you feel alone. On top of dealing with other issues as a teen, you also need to regularly confront conflict. Yet there are ways you can reduce the impact of bullying in your life. Here’s what you need to know.
What Does Bullying Look Like?
Bullying can come in many different forms.
Physical bullying is the easiest to notice: someone pushing someone around, sneaking up behind someone, or taking their things.
Mental bullying and cyber bullying can be more difficult to identify, but they can be just as damaging. Mental bullying comes in the form of psychological torment: calling someone names, leaving them nasty notes, or playing tricks on them. Cyber bullying happens on the internet, where cyber bullies may mock someone online or create fake accounts just to harass them.
Tips to Reduce the Likelihood of Bullying
There is nothing that a victim does to deserve bullying. Unfortunately, bullying is often a part of life for all teens, including deaf teens. There are some things you can do to reduce the likelihood of bullying:
- Try not to respond. Bullies act the way they do because they’re trying to provoke a reaction. Things like ignoring their messages online or ignoring their pranks will quickly cause them to lose interest.
- Concentrate on other things. The more you keep yourself busy, the less time a bully has to interact with you and affect your life. Reduce the amount of time you spend exposed to your bully and concentrate on things you love.
- Get help. If the bullying is bothering you, there’s absolutely no shame in getting help from your friends, family members, or teachers.
Dealing With Bullying
When bullying does happen, it’s important to recognise that bullying is more about the bully than it is about you. The truth is that a bully is going to bully someone, anyone, and they’ve only picked you as a victim because you were available. It doesn’t say anything about you that you’re being bullied and many bullies are dealing with their own issues.
Reaching out to your friends, parents, teachers, and counsellors is a good way to talk things out and feel better about your situation. The more positive influences you have in your life, the less likely a bully is to matter.
Support Networks for Bullying
Here are a few sites we found that offer some great information on how to identify bullying and how to stand up to it:
- Stop Bullying : A website that teaches how to identify bullying and how to react to bullying.
- Bullying. No Way! : An Australian site dedicated to teen mental health and countering bullies.
- Anti-Bullying Alliance : A UK site that offers advice and support both online and through phone.
Could You Be the Bully?
In all our years of mentoring, we have found cases where the deaf teen is the bully. It’s difficult to recognise that you’re a bully because you feel like you’re the one at a disadvantage. Signs you could be a bully are:
- You find yourself dominating conversations that you’re in
- You always get your way when in groups
- You try to act “tougher” than you really are.
As a deaf teen, there are many times you may feel as though you don’t fit in or aren’t in control. This can manifest itself as trying to be more in control… which can lead to unintentional bullying. Sometimes it may be worth it to self reflect, and assess your own behaviour.
Meet Holly & Hear Her Story on Bullying
10 years ago, Holly was bullied at school. An incident of cyber bullying occurred on Facebook and, a decade later, she still holds onto this awful event. Watch Holly’s video to find out more about the effect of the cyber bullying and the good advice she received from a friend to help her get through it.