Strategies for Dealing with a Bully

Check out our "Bully Prevention Strategies"       

     At the Academy, we teach students how to deal with bullies.  The sad truth is that many lives are effected because of bullying. We want our students and our members of the community to know how to handle a difficult situation.  When teaching about bullies, we start by talking about what qualifies as bullying.  For bullying to take place, the action must be done:

  1. Purposefully- if someone is being mean unintentionally, that doesn't make them a bully.  If they knowingly do something, then it would.
  2. Repeatedly- sometimes people do things without thinking.  Although it doesn't make it right, if it doesn't happen again, it wouldn't qualify the person as a bully.  
  3. Harmfully- the action is going to harm someone mentally, physically or emotionally.  


         Once we know what defines bullying, we strive to teach students how to be aware of their surroundings to avoid becoming a target.  Because a bully wouldn't want to get in trouble, they tend to seek out areas with less supervision to conduct their bullying.  The bus, the lunch room, the play ground, the bathrooms...anywhere there aren't as many adults to watch.  If students can be more aware while in those locations, or avoid them if that makes sense, it will help them stay out of harms way. 


         We also teach about not being a bystander.  In the "bully triangle", you typically have the bully, the target and the bystander.  As the person watching it happen, you may be able to play a vital role in resolving the situation.  A bystander can assess the situation and decide how to help.  If it's safe to do so, they may intervene.  If not, they may be able to go and get help.     


       One of the most important things for a child to understand is that bullying must be reported.  But what if you can't avoid the bully and no one is around to help?  In the Academy, we teach a number of different strategies to deal with bullies.  We want to give our students various ways because, unfortunately, one strategy may not work in every situation or with every bully.  Below, you will see the different strategies we teach and how they can be implemented.  As a parent, the best thing you can do is to role-play scenarios and allow your child to practice the strategies.  Just like anything, the more they prepare, the more effective they will be in real life.  You can also download a copy of our "Bully Prevention Strategies" handout.              

Walk Away

Don’t get into it. Just walk away. This is a simple and often overlooked way to end conflict before it begins.


If a bully insults you, agree with him. Even if you feel insulted, don't let your anger rise up just let it go. Just agree with the bully and see what happens. Remember, you’re not really agreeing, but just saying yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever!

Refuse to Fight

This probably sounds contrary to what you have always been told, but one way to stop a conflict is to just not fight, no matter what happens.


This is similar to simply walking away. You hear the threats and you turn and walk away from the bully (but keep your eye on them).



If you are a good talker, perhaps you and the bully can talk it out. If you don’t argue or get angry and if you act friendly, you might convince the bully not to hurt you.

Make Friends

Treat the bully as a friend instead of an enemy. Maybe they are looking for a connection and just don't know how.

Use Humor

You can turn a scary situation into a funny one. But be careful! Just don’t make fun of the bully!


Pretend you are sick. Pretend you have poison oak and that if you fight with the bully he will get what you have. Tell the bully someone is about to meet you. Pretend to faint or something else that will get you out of harm’s way.


Stand up to them

This can work, but it can also make the bully angrier. You must decide if you think this will work.


A good shout or yell (Kiai) can shock the bully and distract him / her for a moment so you can get away.

Use Authority

Call a teacher, a police officer, a parent, or someone you know who can help stop the bully from hurting you.

Self-Defense Stance

As a last resort, you can take a strong stance. This tells the bully that you are prepared to protect yourself if you are attacked. But hopefully, one or more of the other suggested ways to end the conflict will work.

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