As we're talking about bullying and how you can help people who are the victims of deliberate meanness, it's important to remember that you can't do it all by yourself- even if you have a Tribelet. Sometimes the situation can get so bad that it's time to bring in a grown-up.
Yeah, but ..
* What if the grown-up says something like, "You girls and your drama! Just work it out."
* What if the bullying turns on you because you told?
* Isn't that like being a tattle tale?
* What if the person you're trying to protect gets mad at you?
Let's take each one of those:
* What if the grown-up tells you to "Work it out"? The first thing is not to go to an adult about bullying unless it's something very serious. Someone is being physically hurt or is about to be. The person being bullied has stopped eating or is missing school. A lot of other bullying can be handled by a Tribelet, although it's always good for adults to know about any bullying that's going on. We'll talk about that more next week. Right now we're just referring to the really bad stuff.
* What if the bullying turns on you because you told? If you find the right adult to tell, a person you trust and who will listen, you can say, "We don't want the bully punished. We just need your help to make it stop." The wise adult will never tell that you were the informer. If you're really concerned about this, at first you can write an anonymous note to the grown-up with enough detail so he or she can take action
* Isn't that like being a tattletale? There's a big difference between tattling and reporting. You tattle to get somebody IN trouble. You report to get somebody OUT of trouble. If you run to the teacher or the youth pastor every time somebody calls somebody else a name, that's tattling. If you go to a grown-up because that bullied girl has bruises from being grabbed by a mean girl, that's reporting. See the difference?
*What if the person you're trying to protect gets mad at you for going to an adult? The first thing to do is to try to convince her to go with you, so you can back her up. Try to make her a part of it. If she refuses, let her know that you're going to do it anyway, because you're afraid for her safety. Promise to back her up as best you can if the bully tries to get back at her -- although if you pick the right grown-up, that won't happen.
What we're talking about here is what we call, in SO Not Okay, a Report Alert. It's reserved for the times when something really bad has hapened or is about to happen. Wouldn't you report to an adult if someone was being sick in the restroom or passed out in the choir at church? How is this different?
So, your challenge this week, Tribelet, is to keep your eyes open for any bullying that seems dangerous to you. It doesn't have to be that an attack is planned! Is there a girl who is crying all the time? Who is so unhappy from meanness that she won't even talk to anyone? If you know of someone like that, it's time for a Report Alert.
Even if you don't see a situation like that, what adult WOULD you turn to if it happened? It's good to be prepared. (Don't forget about Moms ...)
See you next Wednesday!