5 Strategies for Helping Teens Cope with Bullying


Offer Active Coping Methods

Bullies are in it for a reaction.
Bullies are in it for a reaction.
Photo courtesy of GirlsHealth.gov

Coping with bullying is difficult, and it's not about fighting back or "sucking it up." It's about mind-control, demeanor and walking away like you couldn't care less even though you care a lot.

Bullies are in it for a reaction. That's where the feeling of power comes from. The idea is, if there's no reaction, the bully will give up. So "ignore it" is a good, standard piece of advice for a bullying victim. Some others include:

  • Avoid the area where the bullying often occurs or put a block on the bully's e-mail address.
  • Choose a couple of real friends to discuss the bullying problem with, or join a group activity or club where new friends may be found.
  • Take up a new activity, like martial arts or yoga, that can help build confidence and lift mood.
  • Discreetly tell a teacher or school counselor about what's going on. (He or she may be able to intervene without anyone knowing how he or she found out.)
  • If you must respond, use humor -- it can diffuse the situation and make it difficult for the bully to continue the attack.

In some cases, a parent may be able to actively assist in the development of effective coping methods …