How Do I Help a Kid Who’s Bullied?
There’s this kid who gets bullied a lot by everyone. What should I do?
Hooray for the person who sent this question in to us! There are a lot more kids who witness bullying than there are victims of bullying. Often, people who see something happen are called bystanders. Wouldn’t it be excellent if those bystanders would do something to help someone who’s being bullied?
But how exactly do you find your courage and do it?
First, be sure to let an adult know what’s going on. If it’s happening at school, have a talk with a teacher or school counselor about it. If it happens at camp, the camp counselor is the one to talk to. Approach the adult and say you need to talk. Explain what’s been going on the best you can. Give details. The adult can take steps to stop the bullying.
Plus, once they know about bullying, adults can do things to help the kid who’s been bullied feel better and stronger. Adults can also help the kid who bullies learn to treat others with respect, friendship, and kindness.
After talking to an adult, here are some other things you can do. Be friendly to the kid who gets bullied. For example, say “hi” at the lockers or bus line, include that kid at your lunch table, or invite the kid to play at recess or to be in your group for a project. This helps for two reasons:
- Any kid who gets bullied is likely to feel left out and alone. Your friendship helps that kid feel included and welcome.
- Friendship also helps prevent bullying because bullies are less likely to pick on kids when they are with friends.
And when you see the bully acting mean, you can say, “Hey, knock it off, that’s not cool,” and invite the kid who’s being picked on to walk away with you. You can just say, “C’mon, let’s go.” This can work even better if you get a couple of your friends to join you in standing up for the kid. Tell your friends ahead of time: “I’m going to stick up for that kid. Will you do it with me?”
Be sure to update the adult about what’s going on until the problem is solved. This is also a very good thing to talk to parents about. Your parent will want to know about all this and can give you more advice and support. Plus, your mom or dad will be proud that you’re the kind of kid who cares and who stands up for others and for what’s right!
Bullying makes kids feel terrible — and not just the kid who’s being bullied. Just seeing someone else be bullied makes others feel bad. That’s because meanness affects everyone in the environment. It’s like meanness pollution, so let’s all fight it!
Reviewed by: D’Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: April 2011