There are two kinds of bullies that you will typically face: the violent kid and the jerk. The violent kid is mentally unstable and gets a thrill from hurting others. The jerk is simply someone who likes to pick on others to make himself feel better but is pretty scared deep inside. We’ll talk about the jerk in the next article.
The violent kid is someone to avoid. Sometimes this person has been the victim of terrible abuse and has a lot of anger that he directs towards others. He sometimes lashes out and hurts others because he is hurting deep inside. Sometimes he or she has grown up where the adults are very violent and so he has learned from their example. This type of person does not want anyone to take advantage of them and will resort to violence to demand respect that they are not getting by acting respectful of others.
Here are some suggestions for dealing with this kind of bully:
- Avoid them if possible.There is no shame in taking a longer way home or avoiding certain bathrooms in your school to avoid the places where these bullies hang out. With some of these people, if you give them their room they will leave you alone. They do not like someone coming into their territory. I know it sounds foolish (even stupid), but you be smart and avoid their path. Proverbs 27:12 says, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”
- Remember the safety in numbers. If you cannot avoid them, do not cross their path alone. Violent bullies like to get people alone and are not as comfortable confronting a group. The more people you have with you, the greater the odds that if they do try to pick on you, the people you are with will come to your defense or, if in the unlikely event it becomes violent, someone can run for help.
- If they bully you, walk away. Although they want you to get mad and hit them, you do not want to get in a fight with them. Remember, they are unstable and may be very violent if they get aggravated and not think clearly. The best thing you can do is to say “I don’t want any trouble” and just walk away. If they grab you, yell “leave me alone” and try to jerk yourself away. Sometimes the yelling bringing attention to them will lead them to back off. Even if you have to run and endure their laughing, it is better to do that and get an adult to intervene.
- Report bullying. As in the first article, if you do become a victim of their bullying, report it to an adult. Often these very violent kids have been in trouble with the school, and sometimes the police, before and they need to be stopped before they hurt someone seriously. If you see them picking on someone else, report it as well.
- Pray for them. It’s hard to think that one could pray for good to come to their enemies but that is exactly what Jesus taught. Ultimately you should desire that they turn away from violence and embrace the love of Jesus. Think how much happier they will be and how much better the world will be if they were to embrace kindness and goodness. In any interaction with them reflect the beauty of Christ in your life and show kindness to them. They are expecting others to be mean and violent to them so your unexpected kindness may light the way to a better way of living.
Do you have any suggestions for how to deal with encounters with violent bullies?