Learn how to protect your kids from bullies. Advice from bullies themselves.

I am a spectator in the world of bullying. At work I sit on the opposite side of the therapy couch listening to stories of bullying from all angles…

He always picks on me.

I tell him to stop and he does it more.

I am worried about my child – he comes home crying ever day.

Why won’t he just stand up for himself?

I pick on the weird, wimpy kids.

It’s fun to see him cry.

I don’t want my kid to be a bully. Why is he being so mean?


Who do bullies like to target?   I have asked thousands of children what makes them target certain kids and this is what I hear most often:

I pick on-

“Weird kids”

“Annoying kids”

“Kids who cry when I tease them”

“Kids who freak out when I bother them”

“Wimpy kids”

“Ugly kids” “Fat kids”

“Tattletales” “Brainiacs”

“Know it alls”  


These kids talk about how it is fun to see another kid cry. It is fun to see another kid get so angry that they explode. Usually they do not care when I tell them how they hurt other kids.   They want to hurt others kids. They want to make them feel bad.


There are many reasons why a child picks on another child.   After fifteen years of child therapy, I have started to see a pattern emerge.   Bullies often have several of these traits (but not always):

Feelings of insecurity

Struggles academically

Has family stress, conflict and/or violence

Is socially awkward

Has a history of being bullied themselves

Has a history of not being socially accepted

Family member(s) pick on them


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These children have often felt stomped on. They may have been teased or picked on at home. They may have been socially rejected in the past. They may have been teased at school. They may have a skewed perception of reality and feel everyone is out to get them.   Whatever the reason – bullies feed on making others feel as bad as they have felt.


They will often pick on a child that has qualities they don’t like in themselves. They might pick on someone in just the same way that they are picked on at home.

Bullies want a reaction. Bullies want to get kids upset. Bullies want to see others explode.


Sadly, the children who are bullied tend to be some of the nicest kids I have ever met. They often have big hearts and are confused why someone would treat anyone that way. They will suffer silently or have a strong emotional reaction when being teased. They will often tell me that they can’t be mean back because they don’t want the other child to “feel bad.”


So how can you help your child to be less of a target? Sadly sometimes being the victim of bullying is unavoidable and out of your child’s control. However, there are steps they can take to make themselves LESS of a target. I explain it this way to children-

Bullies go around poking at kids until they find one that will pop. Don’t be the one to pop.

Here are tips to tell your child:

Try not to cry or get angry when being bullied.

Bullies feed off your reaction. Without a reaction they will not find it as fun to bully you.

Calmly defend yourself and then ignore them.

Bullies don’t want to look stupid. If you appear calm the bully will worry they appear stupid or weak. You will make it less fun for them and they will want to find another target.

Do not ignore the bully.

Bullies want to feel powerful. When you are completely silent and ignore them – they feel like they can walk all over you. They feel powerful. You want to calmly defend yourself. This tells the bully – I hear you, but you have no power over my emotions. You cannot upset me. Bullies want power. If you do not give it to them – they will more than likely move on.

Be confident and don’t show them that you care about what they are saying.

Bullies want other people to look stupid. Act like you don’t care about what they are teasing you about. When you show confidence – they will feel more uncomfortable teasing you.

I know these are hard things to do. I tell kids to“fake it till they make it.” I let them know that it is okay to feel sad or angry about being bullied, but we don’t want the bully to see it. Those emotions feed the bully and make them want to come back for more. Tell them bullies don’t care who they bully – just as long as they get a reaction.


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Bullying can be one of the toughest things to watch your child go through. If you feel your child is being bullied or is being a bully, you can always go to the school counselor for additional support and guidance.


For more information and support on bullying you can visit: Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center


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22 responses to “Why I Bully your Kid. And how you can stop me.”

  1. […] ever meeting one. You can be sick to your stomach about going to school – without being bullied. If you have anxiety – you can be worried, afraid and nervous about situations that have […]

  2. Thanks for sharing this article about bullying! I think that it’s really informative to read an article from the bully’s point of view. In some way or another, life has been unfair to all of us. Bullying is never acceptable in my eyes. However, we need to find out how to best help these kids who do bully others.

  3. Brian Walton says:

    Hi Natasha,

    I was bullied at school due to my small stature (most people thought I was going to be a jockey). It was mostly physical abuse, even had my head held down a toilet. The day did come and the ring leader got given a damn good hiding by me…. problem solved ! They stayed away from me after that. probably not the best way to resolve being bullied. ” Don’t start a fight, but you have permission to end it”

  4. Niji says:

    This article is all wrong. It’s merely saying for the bullying target to lie and decieve the ‘bully.’ While having confidence in yourself and not making yourself a target is a valid point, the article should instead be addressing how to reform/change the bully by healing and addressing the underlying reasons for the behavior (this means creating big changes at school, in the teachers and authority figures, forcing the child’s caregivers (or removing the child from their care/the school permanently and indefintely/etc) to change their own behavior toward the bully to correct their problems (if the bullying stems from parent/guardian behavior), etc. it is the duty and responsibility of everyone to heal the bully NOT for the targets of the bullying (the bully is not being themselves while their targets ARE) to change themselves or their naural honest behavior and traits just to selfishly avoid not being the target.

    The bully needs to be properly healed and addressed, sometimes thats the targets responsibility, but usually its ‘EVERYONE’S’ responsibility, since everyone else is and not the target is where the problem actually lies.

    • Natasha Daniels says:

      Niji – I absolutely agree. You bring up some very good points. In fact, ironically I have an upcoming article on that very topic. However, I do believe that children also have a right to protect themselves. Often parents cannot remove their children from the school and school administrators are not quick to act. We do need to change as a society – so kids (and adults) who bully get help – but in the meanwhile, we cannot all take such abuse.

      As with most societal problems – this issue needs to be tackled from all ends. This article covers those on the receiving end of bullying.

      • Christina says:

        I agree that teachers/principals/parents need to intervene and find the underlying cause… however….. In many cases after meeting a bullies parents you can see that the apple does not fall from the tree and there are situations where you as a parent of the child being bullied cannot solve that part of the equation. Therefore you are left helping your child deal with an inevitable situation the best way possible. This was a great article. Sometimes bullying just happens. My 7 year old son is VERY well liked by everybody and is still bullied by a child. Maybe jealousy is a key in this situation. They don’t always pick on the weak, the ones who “explode”, the child with disabilities…..

  5. […] who may be hurting. Sometimes, both teens and children may need a helping hand when it comes to dealing with the issue of bullying. A little bit of help goes a long […]

  6. […] It is not uncommon to see young people suffering from depression and anxiety due to stress. School bullying can also cause a lot of […]

  7. Florence says:

    I love your practical suggestions! I was horribly bullied in school for all the reasons you mentioned, and I don’t think I ever really got a handle on it. I had a great Mother who listened to me vent and cry. I don’t know what I would have done without her support. She tried to tell me the very things you mentioned, and while I understood them intellectually, it was very hard to do. Everything you say makes sense. The sad thing is how the bully gets so much satisfaction from hurting others.

    • Natasha Daniels says:

      I am so sorry to hear about your experience Florence. I also know what it feels like to be bullied. It is a horrible experience.

      It is a sad and disturbing fact that some people get enjoyment from being mean to others. I like to think though, that hopefully the world is filled with twice as many kind hearted people ???? We just all need to speak up more.

  8. […] people may spend too much time on websites. They may engage in or be the target of unkind or bullying behavior on social media. They may be the target of […]

  9. […] They will need to develop skills to handle these situations – as their natural instincts aren’t going to help. For some tips on how to help your sensitive children with bullies click here. […]

  10. […] are the ones who refused to say anything mean to bullies – because they didn’t want to hurt their […]

  11. John Parker says:

    I am here for the first time. Your blog took me in deep thinking about whether the bullying in the school will be stop or not. We know how it feels to have your child bullied day and day out. It is sad that bullying continues despite efforts. We all know that how it is sad and frightening to experience your child being bullied. Thanks for saying something about this. We really need to work hard against the bullying. I love the idea of “Do not ignore the bully.” I agree with you parents shouldn’t ignore it and instead of it should take appropriate actions against it.

  12. Morgan Jones says:

    Hello Natasha, I was just looking for information on bullying and found your article. I was enjoying when reading it. I would like to add something to it. I think we should teach our children not to be an easy target of bullies. Bullies go for easy prey, someone with confident body language, who can tell the bully to “knock it off” in a firm voice, etc. is a less likely target. Also, being with a group of friends whenever possible is another good strategy.

  13. Joolz says:

    Hi, I have enjoyed being parent helper for my kids classes quite a lot and what I have noticed is the really mean, bully kids (4 that I can remember) have come from stable, loving backgrounds where the parents are really soft on their kids. I teach my kids to be genuinely nice to those kids as soon as I identify them as bullies are bullies because they are afraid. But I also tell them that if they are mean then tell them to stop, explain they don’t like that behaviour and if it persists to just move away and forget about it. And I encourage them to stick up for other kids. So far this has worked really well for my kids who have never been bullied.

  14. Tristen Kendrick says:

    I am a 9 year old boy and I have a friend who bully’s this other kid named Ben. He used to tease him all the time. I asked him why do you do that? So I thought I should show him how it felt and I said you look like a penguin. I asked him how dose it feel? He said not so good, so he said I did’t know it felt so bad. so I should stop bullying Ben and he never teased anyone again.
    I just do not understand why anyone wants to be so mean..

  15. Eric wood says:

    This is one of those well-intended articles that gives almost enough information to be valuable. The author needs to spend some time and think up some examples that children can actually use to defend themselves rather than simply say “defend yourself and be confident.”

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