Can we be real for a second? Being bullied is the worst.
It’s hurtful, and can have a huge impact on someone for a long time. Sadly most teens experience bullying at some stage in their lives. As someone living with severe food allergy, you may have actually experienced some form of bullying specifically about your allergy.
WHY DO PEOPLE BULLY
There are many reasons why people bully others, some include:
- Feeling jealous
- Feeling powerful
- To seem cool, or to fit in
- Troubles at home, or being bullied themselves
Bullies tend to look for something different about another person to pick on. Unfortunately, having a food allergy can make you seem “different” in the eyes of a bully.
Regardless of your allergy, bullying is never ok. If you are being bullied know that it is not your fault and seek help.
Examples of bullying related to food allergy include:
- Being blamed as the reason another person may not be able to have a certain food at a venue/event.
- Being teased with the food you are allergic to.
- Having comments like “this is delicious, too bad you can’t have any because you’re allergic” directed at you.
- Being asked silly questions such as “what would happen if I rubbed some peanut butter on your skin?” just for a laugh when surrounded by people who may/may not understand the seriousness of food allergy.
- Being excluded from an event because the organiser doesn’t want to deal with your allergy.
STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME BULLIES
It can be tough standing up to a bully. But, by building resilience and confidence within yourself you can find ways to shut-down torment from others.
Here are some useful ideas to help overcome bullying:
Speak up and educate
A lot of the time, a bully may pick on you because they don’t understand the seriousness of your allergy. If you get asked silly and/or dangerous questions by your classmates, take the opportunity to tell them what would happen, and what it would take for an allergic reaction to occur. Often bullies are counting on you not responding to their teasing. Sometimes a response that makes the bully seem like they don’t know what they’re talking about can help.
Surround yourself with people who will stick up for you
Having a great bunch of friends – who know about your allergy – is so important. Not only are they a great support network to turn to for support, especially when you’re down, but good friends will stick up for you and help to shut down a bully.
Seek help from an adult
If bullying becomes too much for you to handle on your own or is making you feel uncomfortable, upset and anxious you need to speak to an adult about it. Whether it’s a parent, guardian or trusted teacher, an adult will be able to step in and help you work through the issue.
Where to get help:
Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia: 1300 728 000
Kid’s Helpline: 1800 55 1800