By: Ryan Ngai, Guest Blogger
Editor's Note: Speaking up is important when you or someone else is being bullied. Young people need to let parents, teachers, and friends know if they are being bullied. Likewise, parents need to report instances of bullying to their child’s school.
Lori Diggs, a parent who lives in New York City, recently contacted ParentFurther and shared an inspiring essay written by her 12-year-old son Ryan. Ryan deftly communicates the importance of speaking up when one is bullied by others. He shares other helpful insights as well, like not taking insults too personally and recognizing that what one person finds funny may be incredibly hurtful to someone else.
I believe that it is not right to bully. I was bullied for most of my life. I have been bullied because I like something different, because I look different and because I am a different race/ethnicity. I am half Asian and half black. My mom is black. She grew up with similar problems to what I have grown up with. She used to be bullied because of her race by everyone around her. My dad is Chinese. He did not have problems with bullies growing up.
What bullies try to do is get under your skin. I have had days where I just wanted to sit at home and be upset, but then I realized that once you are upset the bully has won the battle. That is when I decided to not take insults personally, and to speak up for myself when I am mistreated. Bullying can happen anywhere; at school, in the street, or even with family. It is hard for kids to handle it, but it’s not just kids who are bullied. It can be teenagers, young adults, and adults. Don’t feel alone, it happens to all of us. You can try to handle it on your own with nonviolence, or you can go to a teacher or your family. The most important thing is that you don’t let the bully win.
Even your family can bully you. It might be in a different way than you expect. Sometimes family members will playfully tease each other, and something is said that was not intended to hurt, but it might. In my family, people take jokes differently. On my dad’s side, we crack jokes and tease each other. We don’t take things personally. On my mom’s side, we are more serious about what we say. My mom hates when we make jokes about how we look and who we are, while my dad doesn’t really care. Everyone is different about what they consider funny.
Even your close friends can bully you. It can happen out of nowhere and leave you feeling speechless because you will not be expecting it. Sometimes friends can call you names or make jokes that you do not find funny. Their comments can feel cruel and racist. It feels strange to hear these kinds of words coming from a friend. It can make you feel like an outsider. When this happened to me in the past, I felt like I was alone. I felt like if one of my friends felt this way, then maybe everyone felt that way. It is important to forgive, but not forget, and to take time to let things pass so you can move on.
When I am upset, I can talk to my sister. She is someone I trust, and I know that she will listen and understand. If you are being bullied, find someone that you can trust. I believe being upset is ok. It is how you make people listen to you. For me, speaking up feels easy. It is something I have been doing all my life. Make sure that if you are being bullied, that you keep on speaking up, until something is done.
I believe that it is not right to bully.
Ryan lives in New York City with his mom and sister. He loves playing on his computer. He has dealt with bullying most of his life.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Parents can arm themselves with education about how to deal with bullying behavior. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a wonderful online resource called Stop Bullying Now! that provides helpful, free information for parents. Also, be sure to check out our anti-bullying action steps to help your children rise above bullying.