Dear American Girl,

There's a group of mean girls at my school, and for the last few years, they have picked on me. I was hoping that they would have grown up a little over the summer, but the bullying is even worse this year. I'm ready to stand up for myself. What should I do?
-No more bullying!

Here's your advice:

Whatever you do, don't run away from the bullying. If you do this, these girls might see it as a sign of victory and will tease you even more. When these girls pick on you, you could say, "How would you feel if someone bullied you?" It's a great response that might make them think, too.
-Allison, age 11, Missouri

Look these girls straight in the eye and with confidence say, "I'm getting really tired of the teasing, so can you please stop?" Don't let these girls scare you.
-Katherine, age 13, Massachusetts

You should discuss the bullying with your parents or another trusted adult. Talk about your problem, and you might be surprised at how much help you'll get.
-Angelina, age 11, Oklahoma

When these girls bully you, you could respond, "Wow, you must not have much self-confidence, or you wouldn't keep being mean to me."
-Sarah, age 12, Nebraska

When these girls make mean comments, just walk away from them. Don't let them see you get angry or sad about their words. Even if you are hurt, try your best not to show it. If they see that they aren't getting to you, they might get bored and leave you alone.
-Ashley, age 11, Wisconsin

My dad has always told me that people tend to get bullied when they allow others to bully them. Every time these girls pick on you, you need to firmly say "Stop!" Remember, you have the power to defend yourself.
-Vianna, age 12, Canada

Focus on the fact that you go to school every day for one real purpose: to learn. If you keep yourself occupied with your homework and school activities, you might show these bullies that you don't have time for them.
-Kaelynna, age 11, Florida

Shake your head and chuckle as you walk away. This will show the bullies that their comments aren't getting under your skin, and they might give up and move on.
-Odessa, age 9, New Mexico

I've been bullied, too, and I had to figure out how to stand up for myself. Finally one day, I said, "I'm happy with myself, and I don't really care what you think about me." It put a stop to the bullying.
-Lillian, age 10, Ohio

When I was being picked on, I went to my school's guidance counselor for help, and she gave me some great advice. Practice comebacks and reactions to these bullies in front of a mirror until you're ready to confront them face-to-face.
-Eden, age 12, North Carolina

If the bullying gets even worse, you should talk to your teacher. Remember, you aren't being a tattletale if you're trying to protect yourself.
-Jenna, age 11, Pennsylvania

Surround yourself with a good support system. Stick close to your friends and spend time only with people who make you feel awesome. If you are around positive people, their positivity may rub off on you, and you can show those bullies that they can't hurt you.
-Celeste, age 12, Ohio

The most important thing is to not be mean back to these girls. Don't sink to their level. Keep calm and tell them that what they're doing isn't right. Standing up for yourself can be difficult, but you should try.
-Meg, age 10, Michigan

The next time these girls pick on you, grin and say, "Thanks! You just made my day!" Then walk away. They will be confused by your humor and will probably back off.
-Katie, age 11, New Jersey

Showing negative emotions might encourage these girls to bully you even more. They are trying to make you feel bad about yourself. Turn a negative comment into a positive one. For example, if a girl says something mean about your hair, just smile and say, "I like your hair, too." It will drive them crazy, but it might work.
-Harley, age 13, Alabama

On my team this year, there was a group of girls who weren't nice to the rest of the team. They would make fun of people about every little thing. When one of the girls bullied me again, I finally had enough. I said, "I don't care about your opinion. You need to stop this. Stop being mean to me and the other girls." And guess what? It worked! Sometimes you just need to find your voice to put an end to bullying.
-Gabriela, age 10, Ohio

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