Bullying can take many forms, but all forms of bullying cause harm. Even if there is no physical contact between a bully and their target, people who are bullied may carry the emotional damage of what they experienced for the rest of their lives. That is why it is important to put a stop to bullying. If you are being bullied, then there are things you can do to deal with the bully. If you witness bullying, then there are things you can do to stand up for someone else. You can also work to raise awareness among your peers and learn about the different ways that you can ask for help.
Our goals go beyond that of just offering basic or impersonal advice people can find anywhere else on the web. Whether you were a victim of bullying as a child or if it has seen its way into your life as an adult, we hope this article helps people of all ages, races, genders and religions get the help and emotional healing necessary to overcome such hurdles.
How to stop bullying at school
You can be someone who stops bullying before it even starts. How cool is that! Here are some ways to beat bullying at your school.
- Stand up for people who are bullied. Bullies often want an audience and approval. Let bullies know that you do not think being mean is cool.
- Take an anti-bullying pledge. Print out our pledge to stand up against bullying. Share it with your friends, and let people know what you believe. And share our anti-bullying image on Facebook too.
- Take action. See if you can start an anti-bullying club or prevention program at your school.
- Talk to other kids. Try to learn more about where bullying happens at your school. Talk about what might help. See if you and some friends can go together to talk to an adult at school.
- Talk to your teachers or principal. Let adults at school know that you care about this topic. Ask the school to host an assembly on bullying. Ask for an anonymous survey to learn how many kids are being bullied.
- Talk to your parents or guardians. Your parents or guardians can ask your school to focus more on bullying. We have information for adults on the
bullying page in our section for parents and caregivers.
- Speak (and write) up! Write a blog, school newspaper article, or tweets to tackle bullying.
- Get creative. How about starting a poster-making or rap-writing contest? Check out more cool ideas, plus tools for having a group discussion on bullying.
Parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying. They can:
- Help kids understand bullying. Talk about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely. Tell kids bullying is unacceptable. Make sure kids know how to get help.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Check in with kids often. Listen to them. Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns.
- Encourage kids to do what they love. Special activities, interests, and hobbies can boost confidence, help kids make friends, and protect them from bullying behavior.
- Model how to treat others with kindness and respect.
Help Kids Understand Bullying
Kids who know what bullying is can better identify it. They can talk about bullying if it happens to them or others. Kids need to know ways to safely stand up to bullying and how to get help.
- Encourage kids to speak to a trusted adult if they are bullied or see others being bullied. The adult can give comfort, support, and advice, even if they can’t solve the problem directly. Encourage the child to report bullying if it happens.
- Talk about how to stand up to kids who bully. Give tips, like using humor and saying “stop” directly and confidently. Talk about what to do if those actions don’t work, like walking away
- Talk about strategies for staying safe, such as staying near adults or groups of other kids.
- Urge them to help kids who are bullied by showing kindness or getting help.
- Watch the short webisodes and discuss them – PDF with kids.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Research tells us that children really do look to parents and caregivers for advice and help on tough decisions. Sometimes spending 15 minutes a day talking can reassure kids that they can talk to their parents if they have a problem. Start conversations about daily life and feelings with questions like these:
- What was one good thing that happened today? Any bad things?
- What is lunch time like at your school? Who do you sit with? What do you talk about?
- What is it like to ride the school bus?
- What are you good at? What would do you like best about yourself?
Talking about bullying directly is an important step in understanding how the issue might be affecting kids. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but it is important to encourage kids to answer them honestly. Assure kids that they are not alone in addressing any problems that arise. Start conversations about bullying with questions like these:
- What does “bullying” mean to you?
- Describe what kids who bully are like. Why do you think people bully?
- Who are the adults you trust most when it comes to things like bullying?
- Have you ever felt scared to go to school because you were afraid of bullying? What ways have you tried to change it?
- What do you think parents can do to help stop bullying?
- Have you or your friends left other kids out on purpose? Do you think that was bullying? Why or why not?
- What do you usually do when you see bullying going on?
- Do you ever see kids at your school being bullied by other kids? How does it make you feel?
- Have you ever tried to help someone who is being bullied? What happened? What would you do if it happens again?
- Get more ideas for talking with children – PDF about life and about bullying. If concerns come up, be sure to respond.
There are simple ways that parents and caregivers can keep up-to-date with kids’ lives.
- Read class newsletters and school flyers. Talk about them at home.
- Check the school website
- Go to school events
- Greet the bus driver
- Meet teachers and counselors at “Back to School” night or reach out by email
- Share phone numbers with other kids’ parents
Helping Someone who is Being Bullied
Take immediate action. Do not wait to deal with bullying. If you see or hear about someone being bullied, then step in to stop the bullying right away. If you cannot intervene yourself, then find someone who can. Adults who are intervening in bullying may also want to get help from a second adult.
- You can try standing up for the person and saying something like, “Stop it, Lisa!” Don’t insult the bully or use physical force to stop him or her from bullying the person.
- If you are not able to intervene or is intervening does not work, then get help from someone. For example, if you see someone being bullied on the playground, then run and get a teacher or recess monitor and tell him or her what is happening.
- Don’t wait until later to tell someone. If you wait, the person may get hurt.
- Tell a teacher or counselor about any ongoing bullying that you know about. Some forms of bullying, such as exclusion or subtle remarks, may go unnoticed by teachers.
Teach Healthy Behaviors
- Enforce the rules, not just that they shouldn’t hit, shove, or be physically violent.
- Also, that being judgmental, hurtful, spreading rumors is just as bad
- Teach responsible online behavior
Teachers and school staff also have a role to play.
Encourage Kids to Do What They Love
Help kids take part in activities, interests, and hobbies they like. Kids can volunteer, play sports, sing in a chorus, or join a youth group or school club. These activities give kids a chance to have fun and meet others with the same interests. They can build confidence and friendships that help protect kids from bullying.
Model How to Treat Others with Kindness and Respect
Kids learn from adults’ actions. By treating others with kindness and respect, adults show the kids in their lives that there is no place for bullying. Even if it seems like they are not paying attention, kids are watching how adults manage stress and conflict, as well as how they treat their friends, colleagues, and families.
It is the bully’s goal to get an emotional response out of you, so do your best to keep calm and avoid showing the bully how you feel. Try your best not to show that you are angry, sad, or frightened. The bully may feed off of these emotions and increase his or her efforts.Be sure to talk about how the bully made you feel with someone later on. Talk with your parents, a school counselor, or a teacher.