Coping with Bullying at School - How to Deal With It

Written by: Meenakshi Joshi – M Sc
(Psychology)

Last updated date : March 26, 2022

Table of Contents

Coping with Bullying at School – How to Deal With It

  1. Does Bullying Happen at School?
  2. Coping with Bullying at School

Have you seen how kids act in school? Are you just making fun and teasing each other? Or is this a form of bullying? Let’s see how you can tell if your child is being bullied at school? How do you teach them to deal with bullying at school? Learn some ways of coping with bullying at school.

Chapter 1:
Does Bullying Happen at School?

Bullying is using power to show how great you are. You want to scare people who are smaller than you. You feel you can easily control them. They are no match to you. The bully wants people to see him as “strong”. Hence, he/she tries to be popular by “showing off”.

At school, kids who are older, stronger, and bigger want to “show” their “power” to others. They want to be famous. The easiest way to do this is to try to frighten someone younger, weaker, and smaller. A bully might use aggressive or physical strength to make someone feel like they have to follow what the bully says. Also, a bully can tease or ridicule someone to show how smart they are. Hence, by putting someone down, they feel proud.

For example, a young boy is teased at school about his small size by his senior who is bigger and taller than him. The young boy will be scared to say anything about this to his parents or teacher. The bully might even threaten him against telling anyone. So, the young boy does not speak up. He suffers the bullying because he is scared of the older boy and what he would do if this younger boy talks about the bullying.

So, coping with bullying at school is not easy for such kids. They have a tough time at school. Most of the time, these kids do not talk to parents and teachers about the bullying. It scares them. They feel that the bully will harm them more if they speak up. These kids need a lot of support and help to deal with bullying at school.

How to know if your child is bullied at school?

You need to be alert and attentive to your child. They may not come to you and tell you what is happening at school. Sometimes, kids try to deal with the bullying at school on their own. But here are some signs that you as a parent should watch out for. Even teachers and other caregivers who interact with the child should know about these signs.

  • Look out for any signs of sudden changes – You will see some signs in your child. First, they will try coping with bullying at school on their own. So, there may be several changes in his/her mood, behaviour, attitude, etc. For example, your daughter who is very lively and who generally talks all the time has become quiet. Do not ignore these changes. You have to take efforts to notice these changes.
  • Note how your child looks after coming home from school – You will know how your child’s day at school has gone only if you are actively trying to talk about it when they come home. For example, your son comes home with his clothes all untidy or bruises on his body. This is a clear sign that he has been in a physical fight at school.
  • Listen to your child carefully – Your child might not directly tell you about the bullying. But if you listen to his/her stories or the questions they ask, you will be able to notice patterns or things they are hinting at.
  • Talk to their friends – One way to know how your child is doing at school is to talk to their friends. In case of bullying, the teachers might not know about it but their friends would know.
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Chapter 2:
Coping with Bullying at School

Kids can be pretty mean. They can say and do things that can harm or hurt others. You need to put efforts to deal with bullying at school. These efforts should be directed towards both.
  • the children who get bullied
  • the children who bully others
If you/your child is bullied
Coping with bullying at school needs constant efforts and support from teachers and parents. The first step is for the parents to create a safe place at home and build a good relationship with the child. Only then will a child feel comfortable talking to the parent about the bullying.
  • Tell your child that you are there for them. You have to build confidence in your child that they would want to come to talk to you if they feel unsafe. Hence, you need to tell them that you will not judge them or scold them.
  • Start an open discussion about what is bullying. Use stories, examples, and even videos to inform your child what bullying is and what to do if they face such a situation.
  • Encourage them to speak up. Give them the needed courage and assurance that you will take care of them. Let them tell their story about what happens at school.
  • Listen carefully without trying to point out what your child has done wrong. You may be worried and puzzled as to why they did not come to you earlier. But do not get angry about such things. Your child has come to you now so focus on that.
  • Talk to his/her teachers and parents of the bully. Everyone involved needs to work together. So talk to all the players involved and try to find a solution.
  • Empower your child. Coping with bullying at school is hard. Try to give them tips and strategies that can help them. Also, try to boost their confidence and self-esteem.
If you/your child is the bully
Usually, the person who does the bullying also needs help. There is a high chance that the bully has low self-esteem and is insecure. They might be having problems at home or they feel “unloved” and “not valued”.
  • Once you know that someone is a bully, try to extend a supportive hand to them. Do not judge them or point fingers at them. Rather you should try to be empathetic and try to understand their situation and background.
  • If you are a bully, then you should get help. A teacher, parent, caregiver, friend, or counselor can help you come to terms with what you are doing and help you overcome the root cause of why you want to “show off” that you are strong or smart.
  • Through therapy and counseling, you can deal with what is the real cause of your low self-esteem. You can then make amends and develop better ways of relating with others.
  • If your child is a bully, then you need to not only try to understand their perspective but also try to help them come out of this. You as a parent might be doing something wrong. So, you need to consider that side as well. Try to understand what you are doing wrong and change it so that your child can change what they are doing wrong.
Some initiatives that schools can start
Schools cannot and should not ignore bullying. Here are some initiatives that schools can take to create a healthy, helpful, and happy atmosphere that will help the students who are coping with the bullying that happens at school.
  • Have a counselor talk to students. There can be a counselor available who the students can approach when they feel the need or when such bullying happens.
  • Teachers need to be more vigilant about identifying bullies in their classes.
  • Schools should establish strict anti-bullying rules.
  • Peer pairs or student groups to monitor or report any incidences of bullying that may happen at school.
Final word – Do not ignore bullying. It can have a long-lasting negative effect on the kids. Take steps to help both the kids who get bullied and the kids who become bullies. As parents, teachers, school authorities, and caregivers you need to work towards creating a NO BULLYING policy and environment in schools. Please visit our “Courses” page to find some very interesting and helpful courses that you can take up. Also, read our other articles on our “Learn” pages and educate yourself about things that affect us and the people around us.