Standing up to a Bully

If your child is verbally bullied, teach him or her how to respond effectively.  Discuss the following strategies with your child.  Practicing the strategies with you or another trusted adult will help develop the confidence to end the bullying.  If the bullying is happening at school, speak to your child’s classroom teacher or advisor so they can help.

Ignore the Bully
Teach your child to ignore the bully.  Your child should not make faces, cry, sigh, or make any gesture signaling distress.  Often, when bullies don’t get a reaction, they stop.

Walk Away
Your child can choose to walk away in a confident manner - head up, back straight and with a normal walking pace.  Your child needs to be aware of being followed and walk to a safer place, usually near adults.  If the bully says mean things, continue to ignore and walk away. Tell the bully to “stop” keeping a distance of 1 1/2 to 2 arm lengths, have your child say, “Stop!” or “Cut it out!”  Teach your child to make eye contact and express confident body language; head up, back straight, arms down in front or on the side of the boy and feet at shoulder width.  No fidgeting!  Speak clearly - a steady tone, not too loud, too soft, whiny, or sarcastic.  Make short statements such as “Stop!” or “Cut it out!”, then turn and walk away. 

Go to a Trusted Adult
When other strategies fail, or there is immediate danger, tell your child to go to a trusted adult.  This is not tattling; this is requesting assistance with a serious problem.