More than 70% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools. Kids and teens who are bullied can experience physical and mental health issues and problems at school. Here are some tips on how to deal with being bullied.
You have the right to ask for help to stop bullying
Tell a trusted adult what is happening; it is not tattling or snitching. Adults can help you think of ideas to stop bullying and may implement a plan to ensure your safety and well-being. If you feel constantly sad or overwhelmed and have a hard time recovering from bullying, an adult can help you get in touch with a counselor or therapist to help.
Stand tall, use a calm and clear voice and make eye contact if someone tries to bully you. Bullies are less likely to continue bullying if they realize they are confident and not easily bothered, so try to avoid showing the bully you are feeling distressed by their words or actions. However, if a bully is behaving dangerously or makes you uncomfortable or scared, always tell an adult.
Respond neutrally and respectfully
Avoid doing anything that might escalate the situation. Actions aimed at changing the behavior of the bully, such as fighting, getting back at them, telling them to stop, or yelling, are likely to make things worse. Change the topic of conversation and respond using a calm and neutral tone so that the bully is not encouraged to continue to harass you (e.g. “I have to go now because my friend is waiting for me”).
Avoid the bully
Take a different path to class. Pretend you didn’t hear the bully and walk away. Be mindful when using online chats or applications where the bully might be able to reach you. Enhance your privacy settings so that the bully cannot contact you or see your online profiles.
Remember that no one ever deserves to be bullied
Bullying is not your fault! You didn’t do anything to deserve to be bullied. Bullies have their own motives for treating others poorly. For example, they might not know how to interact with peers appropriately, or they are not actively monitored by their parents. Not fitting in is not a reason for being bullied. Embrace and continue to develop the hobbies or characteristics that set you apart. True friends will admire your unique traits.
Develop supportive relationships with other children at school
Spend time with peers who can support you if you are feeling upset. Many children enjoy being kind to others and are willing to include others in activities. Treat others with kindness and respect to model how you would like to be treated.
If your child expresses thoughts of wanting to harm themselves or others, call 9-1-1 or visit the nearest emergency department.
988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline:
Text any message to 9-8-8
Chat online at 988lifeline.org/chat
Crisis Text Line:
Text “HOME” to 741741
Find a mental health provider
Check your insurance website or the back of your insurance card.
Explore Psychology Today’s “Find a Therapist” tool.
Call CalOptima Behavioral Health (Orange County, CA).
Pacer Center’s Kids Against Bullying
Pacer Center’s Teens Against Bullying
Stomp Out Bullying
American Psychological Association
Cyberbullying Research Center
National Bullying Prevention Center