How to deal with bullies?

+93 votes
asked Jul 4, 2015 in Education by BereniceHara (240 points)
My 12 year old son is being bullied at school. I’ve reported the problem to his teachers (who were already aware of it) and have gone through all the correct channels at the school, but there is realistically only so much they can do. They’re not going to follow my son around for the entire lunch hour to make sure he isn’t getting picked on and it’s hard for them to punish the bullies when it’s just my son’s word against theirs (the bullying is verbal, not physical). I’ve talked to my son about the situation numerous times, tried hard to impress on him that it isn’t his fault and that it will eventually pass, but I really want to help him deal with the problem as best he can. Any suggestions on coping techniques, avoidance mechanisms, etc., would be really appreciated. How to deal with bullies?

3 Answers

+28 votes
answered Aug 15, 2015 by Shantoria (880 points)
The helpguide.org has some good information or dealing with bullying. It covers statistics to show kids that they’re not alone in being bullied, goes through some of the reasons why kids bully (i.e. because they’re jealous, to look tough, they’re being bullied themselves, etc.) and discusses important things to remember when you’re being bullied, for example, don’t blame yourself, get help and the importance of finding a way to alleviate some of the stress that bullying causes. Finally, it covers a couple of suggestions for dealing with the actual act of bullying, such as walking away and reporting what has happened to a responsible adult. The page ends with a series of Myths and Facts about bullying which has been designed specifically to help parents and teachers. Hope this information helps!
+10 votes
answered Aug 1, 2015 by CandidaWalli (370 points)
Definitely spend time talking with your son about coping mechanisms, for before, during and after an episode of bullying. Some role playing might also help your son to feel more prepared to deal with bullies. Maybe start by asking him how to deal with bullies at the moment and then talk through his reactions. A great tool I found is the whiteboard animation in the attached link. It’s aimed at helping kids understand what bullying is, why it happens, what effects it can have on their physical and mental health and also gives good advice on how to deal with bullying as it occurs.
+8 votes
answered Sep 23, 2015 by LuzBond21768 (330 points)
Good suggestions above. Another tip I’d recommend is blending in whenever possible (I know this isn’t always the case, but if a bully says something mean, your kid laughs it off and goes straight back to what everyone else is doing, then it is more likely the bully will leave them alone in future). I was bullied periodically throughout high school because of my religion, but laughing things off (the proverbial “water off the ducks back”) and showing that it didn’t bother me was the quickest way I found to make bullies lose interest.
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