Health Professionals



The US Department of Health and Human Services report titled “Working with Young People Who Bully Others: Tips for Mental Health Professionals” stated the following strategies for the purpose of effective dealing with bullies.

Tips for Dealing with A Bully: Hold the young person who bullies fully accountable for his or her actions. Confront excuse that minimize the behaviour (“I only called her a name.”) or externalize the cause of the behaviour (“I hit him because he kept staring at me.”). Help the young person fully acknowledge his or her behaviour. Emphasize that the youth had other options, no matter what the provocation and that he or she is fully responsible for the decision made.

Tips for Dealing with A Bully: Once the young person is able to recognize problems with his or her behaviour, mental health professionals can help them set and work toward goals for change, help them track their progress toward new behaviours, and feel pride about those changes. Focus on helping them discover the specific positive goals that the aggression is directed toward (‘What goal were you trying to reach by calling Eric names?’) and finding other pathways to reach those goals. These goals may include leadership, being left alone, experiencing mastery of a skill, and dealing with anger.Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Tips for Dealing with A Bully:  Build genuine empathy, to help young people understand and experience the impact of their behaviour. Be careful, though, not to keep this learning at a cognitive level only. If we do that, we risk helping these young people understand better how to hurt others.

Tips for Dealing with A Bully: Build conscience. The first steps in conscience development may involve young people learning that their own actions can cause them to get in trouble. After reaching that realization, they can begin to appreciate the impact of their actions on others.


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