How to defend kids from bullies

By Ryan Douglass

Kids who learn and think differently are often the target of bullying. Families and teachers can’t always be there in person to stop it. But there are things you can do to help kids defend themselves. And state laws make schools take action when kids are bullied.

The first step is to make sure kids know what bullying is. Bullying is serious, hurtful behavior that happens more than once. It’s done on purpose by someone with power.

Kids might have trouble knowing that someone is a bully. Bullies can be charismatic or have friends who encourage their mean behavior. Use the word bullying when you see it happening, so kids have the words to name it.

Make sure kids know they won’t get in trouble for sharing bullying experiences with you. If they open up, validate their feelings. Say “Bullying is not OK” and “You don’t deserve this.” 

Let kids know there are steps you can take to put a stop to it. Partner with teachers, coaches, or other trusted adults to help protect kids from bullying.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Ryan Douglass is a Young Adult author from Atlanta. His first book is “The Taking of Jake Livingston.” He has worked as an intern and content creator for the editorial team at Understood.

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Molly Algermissen, PhD is an associate professor of medical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center and clinical director of PROMISE.