From national research we know that bullying usually begins in the 3rd or 4th grade and builds to a peak in the 9th grade and then declines. We call this the bullying band. Chances are, if you interact with a child or children in the bullying band, they have been on the receiving end of bullying at some point. Most kids are resilient and able to move beyond the incident(s) – some need more time and attention to heal the wounds of bullying. Regardless of the situation, here are 10 ways that we can support a bullied child as adults:

  1. Make time for conversation.
  2. Keep the conversation private so the child feels like they can share as much as they need to.
  3. Listen first, talk later.
  4. Don’t make assumptions about how they should feel – allow them to express their feelings in whatever words make sense to them.
  5. If it is necessary to involve school administrators, check with the student first about sharing what they have told you.
  6. Affirm the child with positive language, helping them recognize the good characteristics they possess.
  7. Support the student in responding to future bullying incidents in a way that respects themselves and others.
  8. Help them develop a buddy system – a group of friends or trusted adult that the child can go to if a bullying incident happens at school.
  9. Don’t support retaliation.
  10. Choose kindness in your own interactions with people who may be difficult.

Some of these tips are adapted from Kidscape.