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A guide for how to deal with bullies at school

When you’re being bullied at school it can be very hard to know to handle it. Here are some tips for dealing with bullies at school.

March 10 2022 - 12 min read

foster child being bullied at school

Sadly, bullying happens far too frequently at school.

If you’re dealing with bullies at school, then we’re so sorry you’re going through something so difficult.

But, you are not alone. And it’s NOT your fault.

If you’re looking for help with bullying at school, then we’re here to give you the advice and guidance you need. It’s important you understand the best way to deal with bullies at school, and turn a bad situation into a positive one.

I am bullied at school

Being bullied at school is hard enough for any child. But when you’re a foster child, it can make things even harder.

There are a lot of different versions of bullying, from verbal to physical and everything in between. If someone hurts you or abuses you verbally, that’s bullying. Bullying can be a one-off occurrence or it can go on for a long time. And the more empowered you are, the better chance you have to stop the bully in their tracks.

A bully does what they do because they want to get a reaction, both from you and whoever they’re with. They want to take away your power, make you feel scared, upset, alone, and vulnerable. A lot of the time, if you show them they can’t make you feel these things, they’ll simply lose interest and stop.

Why do bullies bully? It’s very possible that your bully is going through something difficult themselves, and picking on you and others is a way to make themselves feel better. Other times it’s to look popular or to show their authority, or maybe even because of peer pressure. Whatever the reason, bullying is never okay.

What to do to stop bullying at schools

When you’re being bullied at school it can be very hard to know to handle it. Here are some tips for dealing with bullies at school.

Walk away

Depending on how bad the bullying is, something as simple as walking away could be all you need to do to show the bully that you just don’t care about what they have to say.

By walking away, you’re not giving them the satisfaction of upsetting you. Remember, they want you to react and get angry. If you don’t get angry and act like it doesn’t bother you then you’re taking away their power.

If the bully approaches you, turn away from them and walk on without turning around. You could even shout “STOP” at them first if they start talking, and then walk away.

Remain confident. Bullies love picking on people who they think are weaker than them, so show them you aren’t.

Things to say to bullies at school

Looking for ways how to deal with verbal bullying at school? Or how to respond to bullying at school? Try these, but only if you feel it’s safe to do so.

  • If they say something about what you’re wearing, laugh along and say “I know!”. Then just walk away without saying anything else.
  • Ask them “do you feel better now?” when they finish saying whatever it is they want to say.
  • Let them know that you just don’t care, “excuse me, but you seem to think I care about what you’re saying. I really don’t.” Or, “I don’t really understand why you keep talking about me, but I'm sorry, I just don’t care.”

If you do choose to say something back to the bully then it’s important to just walk away when you’re done. Don’t respond to anything else they might say, as you’ll be giving them exactly what they want, which is a reaction.

Show kindness

A lot of the time bullies act the way they do because they are hurting too. They may have been bullied themselves and are now putting other people through the same pain they went through.

Even if they say or do something bad to you, try reacting with kindness. It’s a great way to throw them off track and prove that you’re a good person that doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.

Once they’ve said what they need to say, look them in the eye and say something kind. Be nice to them. Another thing you can do is write your bully a letter describing all the positive aspects about them. It might be hard to see past their bullying behaviour, but you could compliment their style, performance in class or sports, that you think they’re funny or how you admire their loyalty to friends.

They might be shocked or feel extremely guilty, which could put an end to the cycle of bullying.

Tell an adult or someone you trust

A lot of the time, you might want to just close up and bottle your emotions inside. But this can cause a lot more harm than good. Instead of dealing with the issue, you’re taking it on alone, which can severely affect your mental health.

The old saying “a problem shared is a problem halved,” couldn’t be more true. So, even if you’re feeling worried about telling someone what’s going on, being open and honest is the best way to tackle it and stop being bullied at school. There’s no reason to feel ashamed because this is something happening to you, not because of you.

If the bullying doesn’t stop, gets worse, or you’re too afraid to say anything to them, then you must ask for help. It might be scary to tell someone, but you will feel less alone and they will help stop it. This is especially true if someone is physically hurting you.

Let them know who is doing it, what they’re doing, where and when it happened (or keep a record if it happens frequently), how long it’s been going on, and how it’s making you feel.

Teachers, foster parents, social workers, the police, and bullying charities are there to help you. And if you’ve already told someone but nothing has changed, then tell someone else. Bullying is wrong. Full stop. And it needs to be stopped before it gets any worse.

Help with bullying at school is at hand

Now you know how to deal with bullies at school, you can start making the changes to turn things around.

Try your best to stay positive. We know this can be hard when someone is doing their best to make you feel negative and bring you down. Just remember what an important and valuable person you are, and how this person, and what they say or think, doesn’t matter.

Just know that you are not alone, and you have a huge support network available to you, ready to step in and help. From your foster parents to your agency, teachers, social workers, and friends, you are loved and you have a lot of people behind you who care about you deeply.

If you are feeling extremely low because of the bullying, please don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to The National Bullying Helpline on 0300 323 0169 or 0845 22 55 787. Lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.