Are you being bullied?

Helping children learn about God's care

Kids and adults on a local TV news show were talking about bullying. When kids make fun of someone who is different in some way – maybe not smart or very smart or overweight or new to the school, or just different, it hurts. It might make you want to stay home from school and hide out. Or worse, you might start believing the put-downs about yourself and start feeling guilty – feeling as if the bullying is really your fault. You're sure no one wants to be your friend.

Here's what they said you should do if you're being bullied: Don't lose your cool and react. And don't believe the hateful things anyone says about you. But how can you do that?

Apparently, most kids are bullied at some point. But the kids who are confident about who they really are don't pay any attention, and then the bullying just stops.

The kids on the show said that you need to be careful about what you think about yourself. What you think becomes the message you send out about yourself. A strong protection is knowing your own worth, having confidence in yourself. Then people are less likely to put you down.

You can be sure you're a good, worthy, just, and right kind of person. Maybe you're not like everyone else, but wouldn't it be boring if everyone were just the same? You can know you're great because you're God's child. The Bible tells how God made everything, including us. It says that God made us to be like Himself. Then when God finished with what He made, He looked at it all and saw how good it was.

God made you and knows you are good. That's important information about who you really are. Knowing this changes how you think about yourself. You feel confident. You know you're an OK person, with talents and lots of good qualities.

Nothing can change the way God made you. So if someone says you're ugly or stupid or whatever, it can't be true. You're God's child, and nothing can change that.

Jesus told everyone that God is our Father and that God loves and cares for each of us all the time. So you don't need to be afraid.

There's a promise in the Bible about this that says: "The Lord will keep your going out and coming in from this time on and forever more" (Ps. 121:8). God is with you wherever you go.

Everyone needs help sometimes. That's why it's important to tell an adult whom you trust that you're being bullied. They can help you not believe the teasing and can help you know how good you really are. No one deserves to be hurt.

The kids on the show gave advice about what to do if you see someone else being bullied. They called this "spectator responsibility." They said that by speaking up, you can usually stop the bullying. You could say, "Stop that." Or you might interrupt the bullying by changing the subject or moving the people involved onto another activity.

You can also reach out to those being bullied. You can find a way to make them feel OK and show that you respect and like them. If you're not quite sure what to do in any situation, you can ask an adult you trust. You can also ask God to show you.

What if you're a part of the bullying? I remember being really hateful toward someone else. I didn't think about what I was doing and how it hurt that person. When I did think about it, I was so sorry and stopped being hurtful.

Two best friends were on that TV show. Several years earlier, when one of them was overweight and new to the school, the other girl was part of a group who bullied her. Later, they became good friends. They were both so sorry for what had happened. That's why they were on the show. They want kids to stop bullying. They know that bullying can hurt. But they also know that it can be stopped.

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