Bullying is a pervasive thing in our world today. Bullying can take place at home, at school or even at work. We must know how to respond to bullies and what to do if we see someone is being bullied.
First let’s look at some bullying statistics:
In The USA, according to PACER:
- Nearly 1 in 3 students report being bullied during the school year (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2013).
- 6% of high school students in the US report being bullied at school in the past year. 14.8% reported being bullied online (Center for Disease Control, 2014).
- 64 percent of children who were bullied did not report it; only 36 percent reported the bullying.
- More than half of bullying situations (57 percent) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied.
- School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25%.
- The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students were looks (55%), body shape (37%), and race (16%).
How to respond if you are being bullied:
1. It would be a human reaction to be afraid. Here’s what the bible has to say about that
2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Don’t afraid! Learn this scripture and speak it aloud to remove the fear
2. Even though you may feel powerless in this situation remember that God is ultimately in control. Focus your heart and mind on Him and know that he will protect you.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (KJV) “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
3. You must tell someone and not just anybody but someone who is in authority or has the power to change the situation for you
Proverbs 15:22 (NIV) “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
4. Pray for the Bully. Prayer changes things and it can also change the heart of a person. Ask God to show you how to pray specifically for that person. He may inspire you with wisdom on how to pray for this person. He can give you dreams, visions or words of wisdom in how to respond to the person that is bullying you.
Psalm 16:7 (NIV) “I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.”
5. If you know that you are going to run into bullies if you go to a certain place or area, don’t go there. If this cannot be avoided then don’t go alone. Go with friends, coworkers or others so that you have witnesses to what has been going on.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV) “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
What if you are not the person being bullied but you witness this happening to someone else? Here’s how we respond when we see someone being bullied. Here are some scriptures to guide your thoughts
Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV) “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
1. You should never be a party to the bullying.
2. Even if you are not actively bullying someone if you’ve witnessed it and did nothing about it, like reporting it to your teachers or supervisor then you are as guilty as the one committing the act. You’ve got to tell someone in authority. If you look at the statistics above 57% of the bullying stops when someone else steps in.
3. Remember very easily the shoe could be on the other foot so how would you like someone to respond if they witnessed you being bullied?
Matthew 7:12 (KJV) “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
Information for Parents About Cyber bullying:
There have been several cases of Cyber Bullying that led to suicide so it is imperative that you know your child’s/teenager’s online activities.
1. You should have all the username and passwords to your children’s online accounts. Tell them you need them so that you can check in case you see any suspicious behavior. You need to be open and honest about this. You’re not to use it to snoop on your kids but at least if you see any changes in their behavior you can check the accounts to see if there is any bullying happening online.
2. Check their text messages.
3. Get familiar with all the apps on their phone and how they are used.
4. Have all the username and passwords to their social media accounts. Again, this should only be checked if you notice their behavior has changed.
5. If you see that cyber bullying is happening you need to do something about it. Your child may not tell you about it because they believe they can handle the situation by themself. Only you know your child, so, you need to access the situation (the severity of the bullying) and determine if you need to step in.
It’s time to turn in Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys or Angella Lansbury!
Find out as much as you can about the bully i.e where they live, where they go to school, who the parents are, telephone number, etc.
If you know that your child cannot handle the situation on their own you can contact the bully personally and let them know that you are aware of the situation and if they don’t stop you are going to report it to:
- The social network site
- Their school
- Their parent
- Depending on the severity, the law enforcement.
It may very well stop after they know you are serious about doing something about it. If they persist you need to follow through and report it.
The Facebook age guideline is 13 years old. If your child is under 13 they shouldn’t have a social media account that’s not shared by the entire family.
Here is a prayer on bullying:
Abba Father, I thank you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you that I am your child and you care about me. Thank you that you said you would never leave me and you would never forsake me. I pray that you would uproot fear from my heart and fill me with power, love and a sound mind so that I can see this situation as you see it. I pray that you will build up my faith in you and in your word. Give me guidance and show me how to deal with the bullies in my life. When I speak fill my mouth with your wisdom so that I will say only what you want me to say to diffuse the situation and put an end to what is going on. Show me who I need to speak to about the bullying. If there is something I need to do, grant me the wisdom and understanding to do it.
Abba, I want to specifically pray for (name of the bullies) and ask that you would first show them your love. Only you know the heart of each person but I ask that you would save them. Speak to their heart and show them how to stop this. Make them see that this is not of you and there is a better way for them to act. Uproot any pride, fear or insecurities that may be fueling this fire. Bring a change in their heart and mind. Let them focus elsewhere and no longer think of me as a person they want to mistreat or bully. Bring something or someone in their life to occupy their time and take their attention off of me. Let them be totally distracted, preoccupied and consumed by something else so that they don’t have time to be bullying me. All glory and honor goes to you in this peaceful resolution, in Jesus Name, Amen.
Here’s some more resources for you:
October is National Bullying Prevention Month
Worldwide Bullying Statistics
Here’s a Prayer for Protection