Bullying, or being picked on, can make you unhappy and angry. It can affect you for a long time. If another person does or says things (however small) to hurt you, that's bullying. Maybe you get teased or bullied about being in care. It's hard to think about your school work if this is how you feel. If it is you (or your friends) who are being bullied, or if you are doing the bullying, your progress at school will suffer.
If this is happening to you, here's what you can do about it. The first thing to do is to get help. Otherwise you will feel very alone. Talk to someone you can trust, maybe your social worker, a staff member or someone at school. Tell them what's happening and how it's making you feel. Ask them to help you to sort it out. Now you both need to explain to your school what's going on. Ask to speak to your class teacher, school counsellor or anyone else you feel you can talk to. You might be worried that this will make matters worse. If so, tell them, and they should be careful in the way they deal with it. Most importantly, don't give up. School should be a place where you feel safe and able to learn. Many schools have an 'anti bullying policy' and the staff need to know if bullying is going on.
As well as getting help from those around you. here are other things you can do:
Don't let the bullies think are scaring you. Try to ignore or laugh at what they say. They'll soon get bored if you don't seem bothered. This is hard, but try it.
If you do react angrily, try to appear confident about it – and then walk away.
Stay with a crowd. Bullies usually pick on you when you're on your own.
Keep a diary. Write down what happens each time you are bullied, what is said, when and where. Give this information to those who are helping you.
Take up self defence! This doesn't mean 'fighting back', but it will make you feel more confident. Ask about self defence classes where you live.
It is not right that bullying is allowed to go on. Studies show that over half of all children say they have been bullied at some time. Remember you don't deserve it and you can stop it.
Reprinted from Who Cares? the UK magazine for young people in care.