By Telana Simpson

A survey in 2013 revealed that 57% of school children in South Africa claimed to have been bullied.

This is a sad statistic, as it’s indicative of a big lack of social and interpersonal skills amongst our youth.


Bullies tend to be those people who, based on their view of the world (which is usually influenced by their upbringing and circumstances) make poor decisions.

They themselves lack self esteem, don’t know how to manage their emotions, have poor communication skills and are generally unhappy on some level.

They feel disempowered and have a poor sense of what personal power is all about. And they don’t like their behavior or even themselves.

And so they bully others, because that behaviour somehow meets some need that they have, and they have no other strategy or role models of how to meet that need.

Victims of Bullies

Those who tend to be targets of the bullies are those who look like they can be bullied.

Sue Anderson calls this being judged as being bullyable, and thus her solution is to become unbullyable.

The types of cues that the bully would look for – even if it is an unconscious process – is how socially connected the target is, how they carry themselves and the way they talk to others.

How to stop being bullied

Sue believes that how the child thinks about bullying is their most powerful tool to overcome being bullied. So looking at the beliefs and meanings they give to the experience is a start.

Another key part to becoming unbullyable is for the child to learn about their own sense of personal power, and improve their social skills so that they are less of a target. This includes concepts like knowing about self esteem and how it differs from self confidence.

They also can develop skills to manage their own emotions, and have an understanding and skills to handle other people’s emotions.

And communication skills are part of the state of being unbullyable- including knowing how to say no and how to ask for help when needed.

The bullies also need to be held accountable for their behavior, knowing though that punishing the bully is not enough, and often doesn’t work in being a permanent solution.

Bullies need to change too

The solution too is for the bully to develop personally so that they find a healthy strategy for feeling empowered. This type of development starts with becoming aware of the beliefs that the bully has about themselves, about what acceptance is and about personal power.

Also they need to develop a strong robust self esteem, and skills to handle and express their emotions in a healthy way. And too, they need to develop communication skills and interpersonal skills.

There is a solution to bullying

Becoming unbullyable and learning to stop being a bully involve the children learning some core life skills – ones that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.

Each child may come to learn these skills from different angles of the horrid experience of bullying. Yet the main point – from my perspective and from Sue Anderson’s – is that these are skills that can be learnt, and bullying can be stopped.

Become part of Sue Anderson’s mission to encourage one million people move from bullied, to Unbullyable. – see

Contact me to find out how I, Telana, can help you or your child become unbullyable, or stop being a bully.

Listen to me talk with Sue Anderson about bullying in this Let’s Talk Possibility podcast  (audio podcast available here and on iTunes or Stitcher):

About the Author:

Our Coach, Telana SimpsonTelana is a dynamic, transformational Personal Coach and Blogger who specializes in communicating and relating.  She helps people have no regrets in life by having conversations that count.   Follow her on Twitter or her podcast show, Let’s Talk Communication.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/