Skip to main content UVA Health logo of UVA Health
Healthy Balance

How to Help Your Child Handle Bullying: 5 Things Your Kid Can Do

help your child prevent bullying
Bullying prevention requires kids to find adults they trust.

When I was younger, kids dealt with bullying one of two ways. Either they joined the bullies, or they hit back. Neither option satisfies if you’re a parent hoping to help your child avoid a violent dynamic. So how do you help your child handle bullying?

Teach Your Child 5 Ways to Handle Bullying

Whether your child is experiencing bullying or not, have the conversation. After all, almost half of all people report having been bullied at some point in their lives. Having a strategy in place makes sense.

These five things shouldn’t be the end of the discussion. Make sure to listen to your child’s ideas, too.

#1 You’re Not the Problem

Don’t let someone picking on you make you think something’s wrong with you or that it’s your fault. Most bullies have been bullied themselves, or they suffer from insecurity, jealousy, prejudice or abuse at home. It’s important to understand that you are not the problem when you are being bullied. The bully often has underlying reasons for acting the way they do that have nothing to do with you.

#2 You Can Take Away the Bully’s Power

When bullies see that you’re willing to stand up for yourself, they tend to back off. If a bully tries to get you to do something you don’t want to do, say “no” and walk away. Bullies also want to elicit a reaction. If you don’t react, sometimes that’s enough to stop their behavior.

#3 Avoid the Bully

Do what you can to avoid a run-in with someone who is bullying you. Try to anticipate where the bully will be and avoid a confrontation. But don’t isolate yourself or stop doing things you enjoy doing. Instead, find a friend to be with you in situations where you may encounter the bully. Strength in numbers can prevent an incident, because bullies tend to pick on their victims when they’re alone.

#4 Tell an Adult

If you are being bullied, it’s important to tell an adult even if you think you can handle it. Less than half of all people who are bullied report it, usually because they are embarrassed, afraid or think that no one will do anything. Sometimes, a bully will stop if they know a teacher or parent knows about what they’re doing because they fear getting in trouble.

#5 Talk to Someone You Trust

Even if you don’t want to tell an adult about what’s happening, talk to someone you trust. It’s normal to feel stressed, even depressed and anxious in this kind of situation. You should never have to deal with these feelings alone.

Empowering Your Child

In this conversation, you want to empower your child with information. By introducing these 5 suggestions, allowing your child to ask questions and posit ideas, you can successfully convey that you take your child’s physical and emotional safety seriously. Assured of your support and armed with a plan, your child can navigate social interactions with confidence.


Copyright 2018 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

Reply & View Comments Search Submit

Subscribe for Updates

Get stories & health tips every week