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How to reduce the impact of bullying

How to reduce the impact of bullying
Published 16 Nov 2022

If a child or young person experiences physical, verbal, or cyber bullying, it is often an incredibly lonely experience, and it can feel very isolating. Whether someone in your home has experienced bullying or not, it’s important for us to discuss ways that we can deal with bullying behaviour. Recent studies show that around 70% of young people will experience bullying at a point during their school years. That’s why it’s vital to prepare both yourselves and the young people living with you.


Let’s talk

The Anti Bullying Alliance is a coalition of organisations that have united against bullying, and they have created a fantastic fully interactive tool which enables parents and carers to understand more about how they can identify whether young people in their home are being bullied. It also provides tangible steps that can be taken if bullying has been recognised.

Removing feelings of isolation is a key part of helping someone who is being bullied, and one great way of doing that is by ensuring that they can communicate openly.

One way of doing this is to use a situation in a film, TV show or book as a conversation starter. Perhaps ask the young person if they have ever seen anything like that happen at school? Conversations around what bullying is may also be important at this stage, so it’s worth ensuring that you’re familiar with the definition of bullying too, which is “intentionally tormenting someone, either verbally, physically or psychologically”.

It will take a lot of courage for a young person to decide to confide in an adult about being bullied. It’s important that their concerns are taken seriously from the start.


Let the child or young person know how brave they are

If a child or young person lets you know that they are being bullied, let them know how brave they are for doing so. It’s important that they know that it’s the bully in this situation who is doing something wrong, and that they haven’t done anything wrong in telling you. It’s unfortunately very easy for those being bullied to feel as if it’s their fault. Your support and reassurance will help them to understand what is happening.


How to deal with the bullies

It’s a good idea to provide some step-by-step suggestions to the young person about how they can deal with bullies.

  • Use a buddy and avoid the bully: Although it’s not always possible, the quickest way to put an end to the bullying is to avoid the bully. Having a buddy – someone in the education setting who the young person knows and trusts – could also help. The buddy could help give confidence for dealing with the bullying.
  •  Look confident: Looking someone straight in the eye demonstrates a high level of confidence. Perhaps the young person could focus on the colour of the other person’s eyes, which could help them to look straight into the eye of the bully. This may take some practice, so don’t be afraid to try this at home with the young person too, to build up their confidence.
  •  Cooling down strategies: Learning some cooling down strategies will help a young person to not show any anger when dealing with the bully. This could include not engaging the bully at all and walking away from the situation. This can sometimes de-escalate a tense situation.
  • Always talk about it: Finding a trusted adult and talking about the issues is vital to ensure that the problem can be dealt with.



With the current societal emphasis on social media activity in a young person’s formative years, cyberbullying is a very real issue many young people can face. Whilst it may be tempting to ask the young person to simply turn off their phone to not see the cyberbullying, for many young people their phones are their much-needed connectivity to their friends and family.

Preparing young people for the potential of cyberbullying can be helpful as it takes away any chance that they feel like they’ve done something wrong if they are bullied online:

  • Familiarity: ensure that you are familiar with the various social media platforms, so that you have an awareness of their issues if they do talk to you.
  • Awareness: it’s important that young people are careful when it comes to who they are communicating with online. Perhaps encourage them to only communicate with people that they know in person. It’s vital that they don’t share any personal information online too, even with people they do know personally – so no sharing addresses or contact details with anyone.
  • Sharing images: encourage the young person not to share any images online that they wouldn’t share publicly.
  • Be discreet: whilst it’s easy to believe that best friends last forever, we all know that things can change very quickly in a young person’s life. Therefore, suggest to the young person that they don’t share any secrets or information that they wouldn’t want to be disclosed.
  • Be kind: kindness costs each of us nothing, so encourage young people to think about what they post online.


Remember to inform the young person’s school or education setting to let them know of any suspected bullying. They have a duty of care to the student to deal with such issues and are often best placed to help find a solution.

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