Bullying Prevention

Bullying Prevention Via Groups

  • Parent workshops
  • Teacher workshops
  • Student workshops
  • Social skills groups outside of school
  • Lunch Bunch at school
  • Groups of students who approach you at school
  • Parents and children or adolescents in sessions
  • Training teachers/school staff how to lead groups


Break into groups of four and share one memory of being bullied, bullying someone else or observing someone bully or being bullied from your childhood. What thoughts, visual images and feelings come to mind?

The difference between bullying and non bullying behavior

Not every fight or negative interaction involves bullying, Bullying involves intentional aggression, a pattern of behavior repeated over time and an imbalance of strength or power.

Types of Bullying

  • Direct Bullying: Hitting, kicking, pushing etc.Name calling, teasing Threatening, obscene gestures
  • Indirect Bullying:Getting another person to bully someone,Spreading rumors,Social isolation,Cyber bullying
  • Relational aggression (usually between girls):Damaging reputation,Using threat of loss of relationship to manipulate

Children in Groups

  • Children desire to be part of a group
  • Children seek status in the group
  • Children seek one on one relationships within the group

Why Do Some Children Get Bullied?

  • Children who are obese
  • Children who have special needs or disabilities
  • Children who are lesbian or gay or perceived as such
  • Children who react strongly when teased

Why Do Some Children Become Bullies?

  • As a result of parenting practices and modeling
  • Individual temperament
  • School Culture
  • Some children are aggressive and bully to get what they want

What about Bystanders:

  • May feel powerless and afraid
  • Don’t want to jeopardize their own social standing
  • Fear retaliation
  • Think the bully is only joking/doesn’t mean it
  • Doesn’t want to tattle

How To Advise Parents to Respond to Bullying Via a Parenting Group or Individual Session

  • Establish a tone of warmth and mutual respect in the group and use that as a model for how to treat others
  • Do not tolerate relational aggression within the parenting group- teach parents that they model for their children how to treat others

Advice for Parents

  • Stay calm when talking with your child/li>
  • Find a sympathetic teacher/guidance counselor/psychologist/administrator to ally with
  • Stop sibling bullying
  • Model for your children how to treat others with respect by not gossiping or putting others down.

Teach Parents and Teachers that:
Victims of Bullying Need:

  • Mixed groups of students to interact with socially and academically
  • Friendship groups
  • Social skills training
  • Assertiveness training
  • Just one friend to rely on can make all the difference

Teach Parents and Teachers that Bullies Need:

  • All bullies need training in self-regulation, anger control and empathy
  • Boys need to be helped to have their dominance needs met in socially appropriate ways
  • Girls need to be taught to express anger directly

Teach Children Via Social Skills Groups Lunch groups or Workshops:

  • Encourage girls to have more then one group of friends to be able to move between them as conflict occurs in one group and also to have a healthy relationship with friends- not too enmeshed
  • Teach girls that upsets in friendships are temporary- this too shall pass
  • Teach girls not to assign so much meaning to others’ behaviors
  • Teach girls to approach other girls directly: Did I do something to upset you?


  • Teach Boys to show no reaction and to walk away and ignore. Best bet is to show no reaction.
  • Teach Bystanders to comfort their friend, tell an adult, help the friend plan a way to make changes so he/she wont be bullied.

Training Children

  • Children learn best via role playing so rehearse, rehearse rehearse with them.

How to Advise Schools

Present Workshops to Faculty and Parents
Teach them best practices on the part of the school:

  • Warmth, positive interest and involvement on part of all adults
  • Set firm limits to unacceptable behavior Use consistent and non hostile consequences when rules are broken.
  • Adults act as role models
  • Partner with parents to prevent and stop bullying

Presentations to Schools

  • Create a climate of respect on all levels from the principals to the janitors
  • Obtain Staff and parent buy- in for bullying prevention
  • Create programs to prevent bullying e.g. open circle etc.
  • Establish and enforce school rules e.g. we will not bully others, we will try to help others are being bullied, we will try to include others who are left out, we will tell an adult if we see someone being bullied.
  • During unstructured times:
    • Increase supervision
    • Identify and monitor bullies during recess
    • Organize cooperative games during recess
    • Eliminate hiding spots of no supervision
  • Teach bystanders the difference between reporting versus tattling
  • Train staff to intervene consistently when bullying occurs (see bullying script): stop the bullying, support the student being bullied, name the bullying behavior, empower bystanders, impose immediate consequences, take steps to protect bullied child in the future
  • Train staff to understand that a child who is bullying is a child in pain, who needs compassion as well as firm limit setting and consequences. Use a no blame approach for primary school students and a method of shared concern for secondary level students.

Want to learn more? Read our articles