How Kids Can Deal With Bullies and How Their Parents Can Help

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Here’s what not to do, and why:

1.     Don’t cry, if you can avoid it. Bullies love having power over people. When you cry, you give them what they want.

2.     Don’t try to get even. Bullies hate this. It makes them madder and meaner.

3.     Don’t fight back physically. Bullies usually pick on people who are smaller and weaker than they are. You could get hurt.

4.     Don’t make threats. Bullies respond to threats with more bullying.

5.     Don’t ignore the bullying. Bullies want a reaction from the people they’re picking on. If you ignore them, they’ll try harder.

6.     Don’t stay home from school. Bullies who can scare people away from school feel really powerful. In addition, skipping school keeps you from learning.


Here’s what you can do:

1.     Tell a friend — someone who will listen to you, support you and stick up for you. Tell your parents, too. Clearly explain what kind of help you need.

2.     Tell a teacher, especially if the bullying happens at school. Bullies are sneaky — they do most of their bullying where adults can’t see or hear it. So your teacher might not know about the bullying unless you tell him/her.

3.      When someone bullies you, stand up straight, look the bully in the eye, and say in a firm, confident voice, “Leave me alone!” or “Stop it! I don’t like that!” Bullies don’t expect their victims to stick up for themselves. This might be enough to make them stop.

4.     Stay calm and walk away. Walk toward a crowded place or a group of your friends. Bullies usually don’t pick on people in groups. They don’t like being outnumbered.

5.     Plan alternate routes. Decide when and where the bullying most often occurs, and then find safer routes. If it’s on the bus, find other transportation. If it’s in the park, stay away.

6.     Develop a sense of humor. Laughing at yourself or cracking jokes about your own shortcomings can help defuse situations.

7.     Go out of your way to give sincere compliments to those who might bully you. This makes it makes it harder for them to be mean. 

8.     Become interested in what potential bullyers (and other kids) are doing and talking about.

9.     Develop more peer friendships. Learn how to initiate conversations, etc.

10.   Learn martial arts. Some kids find that learning martial arts, boxing, or weight-lifting improves their self-confidence. Might this be your kid?