Tips & Strategies for Bullied
Tips for Students
- Talk openly and honestly with
your parents and teachers about your mistreatment.
- Keep in mind that no one
deserves to be bullied. Bullies have a need to have power and control over
others and desire to hurt people. Sometimes bullies also feel bad about
themselves, but not always. Sometimes bullies are bullied at home by their
parents and are determined not to be bullied at school – they would rather
- Avoid the bully as much as
possible. Give the bully space. When possible, don’t go near the bully.
For example, go down a different hallway, or when you are on the playground,
stay away from the bully.
- Practice not looking like an
“easy” target. Look and walk with confidence. Bullies usually pick on
people who are smaller and physically weaker or whom they feel will not
retaliate. Bullies look for potential victims who look like easy targets:
smaller, physically weaker, nicer, and more sensitive than the bully. So
practice not being an easy target. Stand up straight, hold your head up
straight, hold your shoulders back, look into the eyes of the bully (not at
the ground or somewhere else), stay calm, and walk away with confidence.
- Don’t let those who bully
you make you feel bad. When they say something bad about you, say something
positive to yourself – reminding yourself of your positive
- Be assertive by moving closer
to the bully (no closer than arm’s length – keep a safe distance), turn
sideways, relax your hands and arms, and hold them down at your side. You do
not want the bully to think you want to fight. Keep your feet about
shoulder’s width apart – for good balance. When you stand this way, you
are ready to walk away from the bully or even run, if you have to protect
yourself. (see Assertiveness Skills under "Free
Resources" on this website).
- Give your friends (the
bystanders) the Assertiveness Skills for Bystanders" under
"Free Resources" on this website.
- Tell the bully how you feel,
why you feel the way you do, and what you want the bully to do. Learn to do
this with a confident and determined voice. For example, “I feel angry
when you call me names because I have a real name. I want you to start
calling me by my real name.” Say this with confidence while you look the
bully in the eye and then walk away with confidence.
- Never fight back, but let the
bully know you are not an easy target. Stay calm, and tell the bully with
confidence and determination to “Stop it!” and to “Leave me alone.”
Or, you might say, “No! You can’t have my pencil. I need it.” Then
walk off with confidence. Don’t stand there.
- Pretend you are a broken
record (Ross, 1996). Look the bully in the eye and say, “That’s your
opinion. That’s your opinion.” Then walk off with confidence.
- The bully wants to hurt your
feelings. So, act like it doesn’t hurt – don’t reward the bully with
your tears. You can do this by admitting the bully is right. For example,
when the bully calls you “fatty,” look the bully in the eye and say
calmly, “You know, I am overweight. I need to start working out with
weights.” Then calmly walk off with confidence.
- Disarm the bully with humor.
Laugh and walk away or don’t walk away (Ross, 1996).
- Use your best judgment and
follow your instincts. For example, if the bully wants your homework and you
think he/she is about to punch you, give up your homework and then walk off
with confidence and appear like the bully did not hurt you. Then, tell an
adult what happened.
- If possible, always walk with
friends – never alone. If you are walking alone, join some other students
or an adult and start a conversation.
- If you’re in danger, RUN.
- If you are out in the
community and you are about to be bullied, walk over to some adults and
pretend they are your parents.
- Being bullied can make you
tired and make you feel sick. To deal with the bully you need to feel good.
So, be sure to get plenty of exercise and eat healthy foods. Also, make sure
you get plenty of sleep.
- Do not expect to be
mistreated. When you are walking toward a group of students, think about
them being nice to you, and do your best to be friendly to them. Treat
others the way you want to be treated.
- Stand up for other students
who are bullied, and ask them to stand up for you.
- Try to make friends with
others, and make lots of friends outside school. Find things you can do with
- Develop a hobby or skill that
will make you feel good about yourself and that other kids will think is
- Take a good honest look at
yourself. Is there something you need to change about yourself?
- Let your parents help you find
some good e-mail friends.
- Make friends with extended
family members: aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Do things with them that are
- Be kind to the bully. This may
surprise and/or confuse him/her.
- If you have tried everything
you can think of and nothing seems to help, talk to your parents about the
possibility of transferring to a different school system. Sometimes this
helps, but sometimes it doesn’t.
- Tell an adult when you see
someone being mistreated.
for Bullied Students
Note: Use the following information only with the recommendation of your teacher
or counselor and your parents. These strategies should also be used with other
strategies to keep you safe.
- Don’t cry and run off.
Instead move closer, turn sideways, and have non-threatening eye contact.
- Keep your facial expressions
neutral. Don’t look sad and don’t look angry.
- Hold your arms beside your
body. Don’t hold your arms up like you want to fight.
- Make your assertive comment
and then walk off confidently.
- Make an assertive statement:
With a serious face and a strong but calm voice say, "Stop it!" or
say, “This is a waste of my time. I’m out of here.” (walk off
confidently) - Or say some other appropriate comment, but do not provoke the
student who bullies
- Fogging—(admit the
characteristic) soft verbal comebacks. For example, “Allan, you sure are
fat.” You could say, “You’re right, I need to lose weight.” (walk
- Admit the Obvious—point out
that the bully sees the obvious— “Wow! He noticed I have big ears.”
(walk off confidently)
- Broken record — repeat
“What did you say?” or “That’s your opinion.” or “So.” (Then,
walk off confidently)
- Confront bully concerning
his/her spreading lies/rumors. (walk off confidently.)
- Expose the ignorance of the
student who bullies you. For example, if he is bullying you because of your
medical problem or disability, tell him the facts about it. (walk off
- Give permission to tease–
“Well, it’s okay to say what you want. It doesn’t bother me.” (walk
- Use sense of humor (do not
make the bully feel like he/she is being laughed at). For example, if the
bully says, “You sure do have big ears.” You could say, “I know,
sometimes I feel like I am an elephant.” (walk off confidently)
- Make an asset of
characteristic. For example, one boy was teased because he lost his hair
because of cancer treatments. He said, “Well, I guess Michael Jordan and I
are alike, we both don’t have much hair.” (walked off confidently)
something and run when you are at risk of being hurt or you are in danger.