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10 Solutions to Bully-Proof Kids

BullyingBullying is always intentional, mean-spirited, rarely happens only once and the victim cannot hold his own. It is not teasing. If this is happening to your child, please know that your son or daughter is not alone. By some estimates, one in seven American schoolchildren is either a bully or a victim. Reports confirm that bullying is starting at younger ages and is far more frequent and aggressive than ever before.

While you can’t always be there to step in and protect your child there are ways to help your son or daughter be less likely to be victimized. I reviewed hundreds of studies to find tips for educators and parents and wrote a proposal to end school violence that became SB1667. I learned that bullying is learned and it also is preventable. We are waiting too late to teach our kids critical skills to help them be less likely to be targeted. There is no one sure-proof solution so experiment and find what works best for your child’s situation. Here are some of the best tips to help bully-proof your child.

  1. Start the talk now! So start talking to your child about bullying before it ever happens. Tell your child you are always available and recognize it is a growing problem. You want your child to come to you and not suffer in silence.
  2. Stop rescuing. Children need practice to speak up and be assertive so when the moment comes that they do need to stand up to a bully, they can. Always rescuing can create the conditions under which a child can become a victim.
  3. Avoid areas where bullies prey. Bullying usually happens in unsupervised adult areas such as hallways, stairwells, playgrounds (under trees and equipment, in far corners), lockers, parks and bathrooms in places such as malls, schools, parks and even libraries. Teach your child about “hot spots” (places most likely to be frequently by bullies), and then tell him to avoid those areas.
  4. Offer specific tips. Most kids can’t handle bullying on their own: they need your help, so provide a plan. For instance, if bullying is happening on the bus tell your child to sit behind the bus driver on the left side where the driver can see passengers in the mirror, ask an older kid to “watch out” for your child, or offer to pick your child up from school.
  5. Teach assertiveness. Kids less likely to be picked on, use assertive posture. Stress to your child that he should stand tall and hold his head up to appear more confident and less vulnerable. Practice. Practice. Practice!
  6. Stay calm and don’t react. Bullies love knowing they can push other kids’ buttons, so tell your child to try to not let his tormentor know he upset you.
  7. Teach a firm voice. Stress to your child that if he needs to respond, simple direct commands work best delivered in a strong determined voice: “No.” “Cut it out.” “No way.” “Back off.” Then walk away with shoulders held back.
  8. Get help if needed. Tell your child to walk towards other kids or an adult.
  9. Find a supportive companion. Kids who have even one friend to confide in can deal with bullying better than those on their own. Is there one kid your child can pair up with? Is there a teacher, nurse, or neighbor he can go to for support? You may need to go to the teacher and principal and advocate!
  10. Don’t make promises. You may have to protect your child, so make no promises to keep things confidential. You may have to step in and advocate. Do so if ever your child’s emotional or physical safety is at stake.

Please! Repeated bullying causes severe emotional harm and erodes fragile self-esteem. No child should ever have to deal with such cold-blooded cruelty.

Get more Parenting Solutions by following @MicheleBorba on Twitter.

The Big Book of Parenting SolutionsDr. Michele Borba is the author of over 22 books including the upcoming The Big Book of Parenting Solutions available this fall.

One to 7 ratio of school children as bully or victim cited by C. Goodnow, “Bullying Is a Complex, Dangerous Game in Which Everyone’s a Player,” Seattle Post-Intelligence, Sept. 1, 1999.

One in three children between grades 6 and 10 are involved in bullying as either victim or bully: A. Jones,“One in Three Kids Involved in Bullying, Statistics Show,” Cox News Service.

34 Responses to “10 Solutions to Bully-Proof Kids”

  1. skeptical says:

    What about if your kid is a bully? We make such a fuss over our children who can’t stand up for themselves, and have low confidence. Bullying is a natural part of being young. Bullying happens everywhere at all ages, and that should be understood too. Some people are bullies, some are bullied. Bullies are often the product of problems at home. Where is the help for the bullies?

  2. Justin says:

    Just have them join a Mixed Martial Arts gym. Worked for me.

  3. Laura says:

    This stuff doesn’t always work or is not always a possibility. I was the victim of bullying, and my mom tried all of this. the most important thing is to NOT step in unless it’s physical, and even then sometimes it’s not worth it depending. And make sure your kids know how awesome they are, that does help a lot. If they have older cousins, have them spend time with them, that really helped me. I agree with the statement above though, self defense is always a good way to go, even if you don’t need it with bullying, it gives so much confidence.

    as for the first statement, you’re completely right too. they need help, but unfortunately, the results of their anger is usually more easily treated (not that i agree).

  4. Serah says:

    Avoiding something doesn’t fix the problem, as someone who was bullied I find it saddening that you advise them to aviod the “hotspots” you have to be proactive about it.
    I wish I had been

  5. To skeptical says:

    To skeptical

    are u an idiot. yes bully happends and it is natural for a little teasing but did u know a LARGE amout of children and teens comite suicide a year. not because ppl say ” your a loser” but some ppl get beaten almost to death for example a kid in my school was hospitalized by a jackas for two weeks because emerson did not like the kid, these kids are isolated and can not walk through the hals wiothout beeing called prophanaty an slamed into lockers. they have no friends because of two reasons, the ppl tell ppl are telling other ppl lies to make them not be their friend and some ppl are to scared to befriend these ppl because they feel they be victamized to. i had the hole class souround me push me around and call my prophanaty as the teacher watched and I GOT SUSPENDED BECAUSE I STOOK UP FOR MYSELF ppl likr u are idiots who can not understant how painfull these things can be because u have NEVER experianced REAL pain. because u hAVENT HAD NO WERE TO GO, NO ONE THAT LOVED YOU, NO MATTER WERE U WHENT PPL WOULD THROW SHIZZZ AT U AND CALL U PROFANATY BECAUSE IT NOT ONLY SCHOOL NOW BUT SCHOOLZ NO SOCIATY ITSELF. to be threaten to be killed ever day. to be spat on litterly… to be truly alone and hated… it messes u up for a life time… i can survive anything because i have expiranced this and i am stronger then u will EVER be… and gauss what im 16 and i can look at a man strangling me with no expression and say do it(more like a whezed whister) and if a guty were to hold a gun to your head u would cry and beg for your life… he will kill u… i will live. killers dont like it when u r fine with death they want u to cry they want u to beg… u r weak and i am supperiour to u both mentally and physacly. DONT U EVER SAY BULLY IS NOT A PROBLEM BECAUSE IT IS I KNOW i talk to ppl often and have talk MANY ppl out of suiced and the first time i talked on out of suiced was when i was in 6th grade. i understand their pain so i can help them and that is somthing u will never be able to do because u havent felt real pain. untill your 100% alome with cuts up your arm holding WAY to may pills and about to swallow them… talk to me then. u weakling

  6. Taniaespino says:

    i think it should stop or it will get worse

  7. Taniaespino says:

    Also i hate to see kids get bullies at my school

  8. tania says:

    also theres this girl named irma nd she like bullies everyone at my school all the time no one can stop her not evenher mom

  9. tania says:

    Yea, Irma is so mean to people. How can we stop her bullying?

  10. tania says:

    irma if ur readn this STOP BULLYING =))

  11. samantha says:

    irma sound so horrible s solution is going and facing the bully

  12. Irma Delgado says:

    Shut Up All Of Ya’ll People Dont Know Anything ! OKAY CALLENSE

  13. tania says:

    i agree with samantha we have to face her plus she bullies a boy named daniel mulumba ….. nd every time she bullies she says BULLIAR

  14. Daniel Mulumba says:

    Yea, She Does Bully Me ALOT ! :(

  15. tania says:

    irma just comes to school to bully

  16. samantha says:

    she should be stoped

  17. Smokkyy =] says:

    Miren PERRAS y PERRO vayanse a la verga okk ? Goo too hell !!

  18. Joan deRoos says:

    With bullying the focus is, rightfully, on the victim and his/her parents. But what about the bully – the root of the problem – and his/her parents? Bullies are often popular and intimidating. Hence, they get away with everything. In subtle ways they manage to come across as likable kids who are “only joking around,” which makes things even harder for the victim. In dealing with the bullying problem, schools and teachers are often addressed. This seems ineffective as the bullying continues.
    I.m.o. the responsibility lies with the bully, as well as with the parents. Right after giving birth we work hard on instilling intelligence, musicality, athletic skills, etc. in our kids. But what about compassion and empathy? Why not clearly explain how damaging, cruel, heartless and unacceptable bullying really is? And why not implement serious consequences if our kids were ever taking part in it? I’m no advocate of strict parenting, but bullying we need to be very clear about. And not only when they’re 13. Empathy can be taught when they’re 1. It will make the world a better place!

  19. help for the bullies says:

    one way to help the bullies if you are friends with that person or know friends of that bully is to tell them the facts, let them know who they are, and talk to the people around to help this child/bully. The bully is also a victim as well. Maybe there is something deep within that he or she is missing or hurting but is taking it out on others; and this happens A LOT. one of many reasons why bullies bully is because they were raised in a violent home where violence is accepted and if people around just speak up and get it through his/her head and stop being his friend, maybe the bully will wake up.

  20. Ellena says:

    In my opinion the key to helping our children avoid bullying is to help our kids develop a strong sense of self. If they have a strong sense of self, they will have the innate ability to stand up for what is right and what is wrong. Others kids will recognize this and respect them for it. It doesn’t mean they will always avoid conflict, but when they do encounter bullies they will be able to stand firm. I would like to share this link, about a service on how to prtotect children from bullying

  21. Azam says:

    I to see that people like me get bulled at stpeter school which is my school

  22. Gwonam says:

    Squadala we’re off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Rampratap says:

    I have to show thanks to this wrietr just for bailing me out of such a crisis. Because of checking through the internet and finding techniques which are not helpful, I thought my entire life was gone. Living without the presence of strategies to the difficulties you’ve fixed by means of the blog post is a critical case, as well as the kind that would have badly affected my career if I hadn’t come across your web blog. The knowledge and kindness in playing with all things was important. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not come upon such a stuff like this. I am able to at this point relish my future. Thanks a lot so much for the specialized and results-oriented help. I won’t hesitate to endorse your web site to anyone who wants and needs care on this issue.

  24. Leylynne says:

    Asking your kids to avaoid certain areas is a joke. These are public areas and should be enjoyed by everyone. I would rather stand up for my child than tell them not to visit the library, playground or park. I think awareness is an important step to ending bullying so thank you for writing the article but how about awareness on how to treat people? It is just as important and serves everyone (including the bully). You can tell people what to do and what not to do but until people embrace kindness and acceptance the problem will never really go away.

  25. Crystal says:

    First off i would like to say that bullying shouldnt even exsis in our society! How would you feel if you were bullied, or Better yet your family member was being bullied! Teens need to WAKE UP!! My friend Samantha was bullied a while back and committed suicide ( I tried to tell someone that made matters worse) So to completely stop bullying we should start off by removing the real problems …. the BULLIES!! Why judge when your not freakin GOD!!

    #MSFTS Stand Out!

  26. I comment whenever I like a post on a blog or if I
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    Usually it is a result of the sincerness displayed in
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  27. Virj Puri says:

    what is wrong with the school system that leaves scope for bullying. Its a real problem in all over word. I would like to keep up with everything new you have to post.

  28. Bullying is the real problem of the world. I read your article very carefully, Its a great article of how to end bullying from school.

  29. Larry Fast says:

    Bullying almost always tries to hide. It happens when nobody is looking. What about recording? If your child is getting bullied, teach them how to enable audio/video recording on their phone or give them a simple recording device.

  30. LizAshton says:

    Another hot spot for an unsupervised area is the school bus. The bus driver needs to direct attention to the driving safety and not every school district in North America has a school bus monitor.

  31. Bullied Mommy says:

    I was bullied as a kid/teen and felt much like “To Skeptical”. We tried many of these tactics as listed above and things just got worse every year until I started drinking heavily, skipping school, and eventually tried to commit suicide. I even ended up looking for my dad’s hunting rifle (which thankfully, was not in the house), because I wanted to shoot the kids at school (pre-Columbine). What made it change, I’m afraid to say, is that I “beat the snot” out of my bully. After that, the group that bullied me for the entirety of elementary and jr. high and their friends left me alone.
    I’m not proud that it came to that, but I’m alive, thriving and have a productive life, supportive family & friends.
    I’ve decided that if my children EVER have to go through the torment that I experienced, I’ll pull them out of school, quit my job and home-school them – because NO ONE needs that garbage.

  32. tree says:

    i like irma


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