Have you ever been a bully to someone? Be honest.

If you’re not sure, here are some signs of bullying behaviour:

  • Teasing other kids because of how they look, speak, their name or what they wear
  • Doing something to humiliate someone else
  • Not letting someone sit with you or join your group
  • Posting negative comments or sharing negative posts
  • Getting into fights
  • Making people do what you want them to

Just because you may have bullied someone doesn’t mean you are a bully forever. You can learn to change!

It can help to first think about why you bully other people. Are you unhappy or lonely? Sad or frustrated? Is someone else picking on you? (Check out my other post about why bullies bully.)

Here are 5 steps to stop being a bully.

  1. Apologise. You have to right your wrongs by privately apologising to the people you hurt. They might not believe you at first, but that’s ok – it takes time to earn trust.
  2. Stop and think before you act or speak. Is it kind? How will it make the other person feel? Are you trying to hurt them to make yourself feel better? Bullying is always done on purpose and to hurt others. You can stop it before you do it.
  3. Put yourself in their shoes. You know what it feels like when other people do something that hurts you – do you want to make someone else feel that way?
  4. Take a deep breath. When we get angry or upset it can be hard to control our feelings. Take a long breath while you count to four, hold it and count to three, and slowly let it out. You will feel calmer. Do it as many times as you need to!
  5. Talk to someone. Find an adult you trust, like a parent, teacher, or counselor. You might be surprised at how it feels to talk about what happened and how you reacted. They can help you to choose how you act.

There’s one more thing – find something to do that is fun and practice to get good at it. Join a sports team, learn to identify birds or trees or insects, practice drawing or writing stories. Try new things and find something you love.

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