No one likes a bully. If you ask anyone, they will tell you that bullying is bad, and we should all work to prevent it. But if you go on to ask what should be done to stop bullying, you may not get a ready answer.

I would argue, that prevention starts with asking yourself the tough question: “Am I a bully?” Consider your own actions, attitudes and behaviors toward others. Are you the person that makes life hell for another person? Mental and physical abuse, character defamation, and psychological terrorism manifested via your actions or online are all considered bullying. Sometimes, we aren’t even aware of how what we say and do affects others. So, think about it and make changes if you need to. Endeavor to lead with kindness.

Awareness & Education

Second, awareness is key. Did you know that in 2018, 22% of our students reported being a victim of bullying? Signs that a young person may be being bullied include:

  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

Most young victims do not report the bully’s actions. There are a number of reasons:

  • Bullying can make a child feel helpless. Kids may want to handle it on their own to feel in control again. They may fear being seen as weak or a tattletale.
  • Kids may fear backlash from the kid who bullied them.
  • Bullying can be a humiliating experience. Kids may not want adults to know what is being said about them, whether true or false. They may also fear that adults will judge them or punish them for being weak.
  • Kids who are bullied may already feel socially isolated. They may feel like no one cares or could understand.
  • Kids may fear being rejected by their peers. Friends can help protect kids from bullying, and kids can fear losing this support.

Is your child the bully?

Here are some ways to know.

  • They get into physical or verbal fights
  • Have friends who bully others
  • Are increasingly aggressive
  • Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
  • Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
  • Blame others for their problems
  • Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
  • Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity


Finally, with awareness, comes the need for ALL of us need to take action, immediately. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Promote and share education about what bullying really is.
  • If you know someone is being bullied help them define ways to safely stand up to a bully.
  • With children, teens, or even friends and colleagues, encourage open communication so that the victim of bullying feels comfortable speaking about it and getting support.
  • Encourage and support young people in showing respect and kindness to others. Most importantly, those who are victims.
  • Establish policies and procedures in schools and workplaces, with consequences for those to be found mistreating others.

It’s time we put our foot down and protect the mental and physical health of all. What are you willing to do to support a safe environment at home, work and school? A great place to learn more is, which is where we pulled much of the information for this article. Don’t be a bystander, stand up!