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How can a teenager deal with being made fun of in school?

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Dragan Otasevic
Dragan Otasevic May 11, 2022
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Imagine a 13-year-old girl whose classmates regularly gang up and subtly make fun of her. The image above pretty much describes the situation. What can she do about it?
After some training, she may be able to kick the lead girl's ass. Though she might be able to do it physically, I'm not sure if she's mentally tough enough to take on the entire group and the shitstorm that entails.
In my opinion, this behavior is fueled by some people's strong drive to increase/defend their social status. By pushing someone down they signal their power to others.
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Creative contributions

Social interactions aimed at increasing one's social status are a form of martial arts

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic May 12, 2022
One can be skilled at fighting within a set of abstract rules but may fall short if the rules are removed. People are aware of the rules under which they can attack an opponent. These rules can be weaponized and used as a shield or to bring in reinforcements (the authorities) against the opponent.
Most martial arts come with rules. For example in boxing, there should be no blows below the waistline, no kicking, and no pounding on the opponent if they fall to the ground. Mixed martial arts (MMA) has those rules drastically liberated, but still, some are retained. Then there is street fighting with no rules. Knives, sticks, guns, gangs of friends, everything could be used to subdue an opponent.
Depending on the rules that govern the situation, a person might choose to fight or flight. What's the worst that can happen within a set of rules? Many people would easily take on Mike Tyson in a match of thumb wrestling or chess, but not so much in boxing.
Social interactions aimed at increasing one's social status are a form of martial arts. They come with a broad set of rules. A skilled social status fighter can leave lifelong psychological scars on an opponent or even cause their suicide. This can happen within the rules and socially acceptable behavior.
A common theme in dealing with bullying is to change the game and fight back within your preferred set of rules.
This can make some bullies realize that would-be-victims may have other tricks up their sleeves so attacking people in any way brings consequences. More likely though, it just makes the bullies go for even lower hanging fruit. Until they eventually grow up and stop competing for social status. By that time they will have left a trail of damage on society.
To sum it up: figure out a way to change the game and let the bully experience you on your home turf. Get extremely good at something useful, then figure out a way to use it in your defese.
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Povilas S
Povilas S4 months ago
This would depend on the bully, sometimes revenge (in any form) leads to even harder striking back from the bullies side, so one should consider how far one is willing to go with this and what resources they have, just like in a war, it might turn in a small scale, personal war:) Hopefully of course, the bully is humane enough to understand that he wasn't doing a right thing in the first place and accept this as a lesson instead of going even harder on the weaker person
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Change class/school

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Povilas S
Povilas S May 21, 2022
The easiest option is arguably the best in such situations. If the environment is bad - people are mean, unfriendly, abusive, etc. - there's no reason to be there. One should prioritize being where one feels good. And especially parents should prioritize putting their children in a socially welcoming environment. Fighting with negative environment is hard, often unnecessary and it drains your energy.
I understand that it's not always circumstantially easy to do this, but I totally think it's worth the effort. I had a pretty difficult time in primary and secondary school in a not soo good neighbourhood and not soo good city, but things changed for the better as soon as I moved to a gymnasium in a more central location and for even better when I moved to the capital city and attended another gymnasium for two final grades in the capital's old town.
If it's too difficult for her to change the school, the change of class should be relevantly easy, I imagine in most cases this can be done by parents simply speaking to the school's authorities and explaining that the girl is not happy in the current class. The more difficult part is to choose a better class that would be more welcoming, but being in the same school you usually hear opinions/have friends/acquaintances from parallel classes, so it's not that difficult to decide.
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Punishing the people

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Mikhail Korsanov
Mikhail Korsanov May 21, 2022
The best way is changing the rules of the organization and acting through authorities. In case someone makes you or your child an offence, "kill" him by the law. The laws and authorities exist exactly for that purpose to help people remove aggression between them.
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Identify the root cause first

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic May 12, 2022
I think at its root this is a play for social status within the group. When people put others down they are signaling to anyone watching that they are superior. They subconsciously hope to gain status. Someone that appears weak or has a trait that is convenient to make fun of, is an easy target - a low-hanging fruit for bullies who are not ambitious to take on people who will fight them.
Another reason could be that the bully sees in others traits they possess but do not like about themselves. They emphasize those traits in others so that their own would feel less bad in comparison.
Jealousy could also be a contributing factor. If someone appears to have something that the bully does not have, they resort to bullying in frustration, stemming from their subconscious feelings of inferiority. The bully's default reaction is aggression.
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Povilas S
Povilas S4 months ago
All the root causes summarized in a fun, but truthful way here:)
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic4 months ago
Povilas S wow, that's a great find
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General comments

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Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic4 months ago
I experienced this quite a lot in school. At the time I didn't react the way I should've. I think the best way is to act cool and seem like it doesn't bother you, even if it does. An attacker is persistent in with attacks if he sees that it's working. If you don't give them that satisfaction, they'll feel that their efforts are futile.
Even as adults, we've experienced co-workers deliberately pushing our buttons. Ignoring them or having an expressionless face will make them feel stupid if they persist.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic4 months ago
Goran Radanovic I think at its root this is a play for social status within the group. When people put others down they are signaling to anyone watching that they are superior. They hope to gain status.
Someone that appears weak or has a trait that is convenient to use against them, is an easy target - a low-hanging fruit for bullies who are not very ambitious.
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