how to deal with bullies at school

Top 10 Strategies to Help Your Child Deal with Grade School Bullying

Whether it was being shoved in your locker in the halls or getting a swirly in the bathroom during lunch, we’ve all had to deal with bullies at some point in our lives. That’s why it is vital to learn how to deal with bullies at school.

Okay, maybe those types of shenanigans only happen in movies, but bullies are real and bullying is a serious problem for children at any age: especially for those in grade school whether they are enrolled in a private or public school. 90 percent! That’s 90 percent of our innocent grade-schoolers who are being told that they aren’t good enough.

Getting bullied at such a young age can and will affect your child. Knowing how to cope together as a family is crucial, particularly in this growing stage of your child’s life. Knowing the strategies to deal with a grade school bully can make a world of a difference in your child’s life.

It doesn’t matter if the bullying is verbal, physical, or over the Internet, something has to be done so that your child doesn’t feel like he or she is all alone in the battle. Being involved in your child’s school life doesn’t end in attending the back to school night. That’s why we have prepared some must-know strategies on how you can help your grade-schooler deal with bullying.

Why bullies act the way they do

There are several reasons why some students become bullies. It is important for your child to understand the root of school bullying in order for him to realize that it is not his fault that he is being bullied. There are just some students who are capable of bullying others because of these factors:

  1. They grew up in an angry household where people are always shouting and there is a lack of understanding.
  2. They want to be popular.
  3. Bullying makes them feel more powerful.
  4. They are copying the behavior of others because they think it looks cool.
  5. They are also bullied before.

These are just some of the motivations why there are bullies at school. It is important to note that some bullies are not aware that their behavior towards others can already be considered bullying. Meanwhile, there are some that are well aware and purposefully do it to gain attention.

How to deal with bullies at school: a parent’s guide

As parents, we should be able to teach how our children how to deal with bullies at school and help them to cope and develop ways so that they will not be targeted. Here is some powerful advice student-tutor has curated to help you.

#1: Be aware

The most important thing is to just be aware.

Many parents are unaware of the struggles that their k-5th grader goes through. And a high percentage of students believe that adult intervention is infrequent and ineffective when it comes to helping them with bullies – let’s not prove them right.

Victims of bullying will feel threatened, ashamed, and powerless (just to name a few things) so it will be difficult for them to ask for help. This is why it is so crucial for parents to listen to the cries of help from their children and to be aware and involved in their school life.

Here are some signs to look for to see if your child could be a victim of bullying:

  • Change in appetite
  • Failing grades
  • Torn/ beat up clothing
  • Change in behavior
  • Reluctance to go to school
  • Suggesting online classes
  • Withdrawal or acting out

These are just a few signs that could point to your child being bullied in school. In order to make sure you are aware of any possible problems with your child, talk to them about it frequently.

Being aware brings you one step closer to solving the problem.

#2: Offer assurance

If you discover that your child has a bully problem, the next thing that you need to do is reassure them that you will be there for them no matter what.

Being bullied will most likely cause your child to feel isolated and alone, so you need to make sure they know that you are on their side.

This is the time when it is crucial to comfort your child and build their self-esteem so they understand that it is not their fault that they are being bullied. In fact, most bullying occurs because of an internal struggle in the bully him or herself!

Your child needs to understand that the bully is acting this way for selfish reasons, not because of them. And not because they deserve to be treated this way.

#3: Practice what-if scenarios

At home, role-play with your child and practice how to deal with bullies at school. You can assume the role of a bully and teach your child how he should speak or how he should act when you do hurtful things to him. This will make him more confident in dealing with real bullies at school because he already knows what to do.

#4: Work on your child’s confidence

The effect of bullying in your child may be drastic especially if it is a repeated case. What you should do is help your child gain back his self-confidence so that the impact of bullying will not be debilitating. You can do this by having your child enroll in different extracurricular activities that will teach him new skills or enhance his innate talent. This is a proven step in building confidence because they will be more sure of themselves. It also develops their leadership skills which will help ward off bullies who are always preying on the weak.

#5: Praise your child’s progress

Standing up to bullies and overcoming the effect of bullying is not an easy feat. You have to understand that each individual has a different emotional capacity so you should always check up on your child and praise his progress on how to deal with a bully no matter how little. You can do this not only to your child but to other kids who are facing the same thing as well. Tell them you are proud that they have learned to stand up to their bullies and that they are handling it well. This has a great impact on their confidence and will lead to more instances where they will learn to assert themselves.

#6: Talk to school officials

If the bullying seems to persist, another tip on how to deal with bullies at school is to make allies. You aren’t with your child the 7 hours of the day they spend in school. So talk to their teachers, principal, and even their school counselors to see what they can do.

Despite a high percentage of students reporting “poor” intervention, a parent getting involved can contribute to ensuring the school is doing what is needed to protect your child and other students. Maybe they can monitor the school hallways better, or pay more attention in the classroom or during lunch. School officials have become increasingly aware of the importance of stopping bullying behavior and I’m sure the school officials would be more than willing to help make the child more comfortable in their school.

#7: Teach your child how to react

Your child should understand that most bullies lack sensitivity. That’s why it is necessary for him to stand up and not cower or cry in front of the bully. Here is a list of strategies you can teach your child how to deal with bullies at school:

Tell the bully how you feel

If the bully is calling you annoying names, tell him how he made you feel by doing that. For instance, instead of walking away, say, “I do not like how you call me _______. I have a real name and I want you to start calling me that way if you have a business with me.”

Do not cry

This is a very effective way on how to deal with a bully. Bullies love tears. It fuels their need for power so they love seeing their victim rewarding them with it. If what the bully is saying is really offensive, deal with it with confidence. Let’s say the bully keeps calling you “nerd” as you pass the school hallway. Reply by saying, “Well, I am a nerd. That’s what get me A’s in my grades.”

Fight back by being humorous

Do not take the bully seriously and laugh him off. If you show you are not affected by his actions towards you, he will eventually lose interest in bullying you.

Follow your instincts

If a bully is really violent and he is asking you to give you his lunch, give it. This is to avoid any physical bullying. But this doesn’t mean that you will let it pass. Report it to your teacher or to the guidance counselor so the bully will be given the right punishment. 

#8: Encourage Involvement

As I mentioned earlier, getting bullied will most likely make your child feel isolated and upset. They will think that everybody views them the way that their bully does.

To combat these feelings, it is important to convince your child to get involved with activities that will make them feel less isolated. This is an indirect way of how to deal with bullies at school.

Tell them to join an after school club or sign them up for some dance lessons or music lessons. Something to help them find a passion and get involved. If they don’t let the bully affect how they feel, then the bully has no power over them.

Make sure they know that they hold the power in this situation!

#9: Raise awareness

Now that you’ve helped your child beat the bullying blues, it is crucial to pass this information on to other struggling parents with children being bullied.

The only way to ensure that the bullying at your child’s school will stop is to create a safe atmosphere endorsed by all the faculty and staff; your child and every child should always feel safe at school.

Some things that you can do to get the anti-school bullying atmosphere started:

  • Start a petition
  • Meet with other concerned parents
  • Get disciplinary rules in place
  • Educate others on the disastrous effects of bullying

Don’t let your grade-schooler be one of the kids who miss school because they are afraid of bullies. Raising awareness of the harmful effects of bullying is a great way to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone in your child’s school.

#10: Start anti-bullying programs to help all kids

Education for the staff and parents of your child’s elementary school or junior high school sometimes isn’t enough to get the message across. The final step in making sure no child suffers the bullying blues is by starting anti-bullying programs.

An example of such a program can be a training program for teachers and staff of the elementary school that teaches them healthy and safe ways on how to deal with a bully, so neither the bully nor the bullied have to end up feeling like a victim.

A good jumping-off point for these programs and sessions are the 3 R’s

  1. Recognize
  2. React to
  3. And Report

Helping children, faculty and parents understand how significant the role of bullying is in a child’s self-esteem and general development is crucial to stop bullying.

Conclusion: How to deal with bullies at school

It’s never too early to talk to your child about school bullying and to be involved in their school life. The first step to helping your grade-schooler avoid being brought down by bullying is to be aware, so you are already off to a good start by reading this!

By knowing that there is a problem and recognizing it, you are already halfway to solving it. After you teach your child how to react to the problem in a calm and collected manner, it is best to start bringing this awareness to the rest of your child’s school and your community.

Stand up. Speak out. School bullying can and will affect your child negatively for a very long time, so it’s best to start being aware when they are in elementary school.

Do you have any more tips on how to help your k-5th grader or junior high student deal with bullying? Let us know in the comments!

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!
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