How to Stop a Bully

Q. My 10 year old daughter wants to be friends with everyone and can be a real people pleaser as a result. This makes her an easy mark for bullies. When teachers don’t seem to be able (or willing) to put a stop to the bullying, what is the appropriate way for my daughter to deal with the bully?

A. This question has a two-part answer. One covers the advice to give your daughter to use on the outside, and the second gives advice for helping her to become stronger on the inside.

On the outside…

Advise your daughter to get away as fast as possible. With no outward show of feelings, she should not answer or respond to any negativity. Explain to her that this troublesome person is picking on her because she is nice. Then, when she finds a good time, she should report to her teacher what happened. The reporting will be best done in private and at a time that the bully does not know it is happening.

Bully’s thrive on the anger they stir up. Their goal is to make themselves feel good by making others feel bad. They love to fight, and they are good at it. They find people like your daughter because they know they will win. The only way to stop them in their tracks is by not reacting.

On the inside…

Do what you can in an on-going way to help your daughter build self-esteem. Having her realize her strengths is a big part of the process. Refer to Tips 1 – 30 in Monday Morning Coffee for a whole series on self-esteem building. Self-esteem is the one major anti-dote to being bullied. Once your daughter has that, she will be free.

June! The Month of the Dads

Dad, here’s where you come in. You have that wonderful way of making your child feel valued, needed, and important.

  • Start on a home improvement job… and request your child’s invaluable help.
  • Tell your child how it feels to you when you see him or her at the end of a long hard day.
  • Plan a special father-child outing… and continue to tell your child how much fun he or she is making the event.

Keep up the process all day every day all month long. This is your month. Each person is born into the world with uniqueness. It shows itself in every area of life—reading, writing, mathematics, science, art, music, drama, athletics, friendship, and more. As your child grows, continue to point out all successes, even the very smallest ones.

You are the self-esteem expert!

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  1. Louise

    Thank you for sharing sage advice and info. Bullying
    is a very serious problem that needs continued attention. I know bullies will never all go away, but as a parent and educator I wish they did!

  2. Hi Louise,

    Thank you very much for chiming in here. Your sensitive comment makes me think of what you said on

    about the natural educational experiences you had with your parents. Their educational interactions, full of belief in you, are what you remember and cherish so much.

    Combining those thoughts with the educational philosophy you use in your work makes me think of this important parenting maxim:

    “What you think of your children is what they will think of themselves.”


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