Problem solving with a bully

Problem Solving with a bully is  key process in stopping the bullying. 

I am so grateful you recognize and are open minded enough to consider your child may be bullying others and have decided to help your child stop.

You are not a bad parent...your child is not a bad kid...You are both doing the best you can with what you know. Now, you are here to learn new ways and approachs and that takes amazing courage.

Ok, so you are doing great…you got your child talking about bullying and now they need help to figure out what to do about it…you need to help do some problem solving with the bully.

Remembering you are doing this with your child not for them…Work through this  and help the bully problem solve to come up with options that feel right for your child. 

Some good advice I read in the Family Virtues Guide by Linda Kavelin Popov with Dan Popov Ph.D and John Kavelin: “Don’t Tell Ask”

You can help the bully problem solve by asking your child to stop Bullying instead of telling him to stop bullying…What do you think you need to stop bullying?  

START Problem Solving with a bully

Start problem solving with a bully by brainstorming solutions. You can review various solutions before starting so you are prepared. By the way this is the way to solve any problem…It works for everything… I know lots of adults who could use this process. Remember there is no one right decision.


Sit down with your child and just start coming up with solutions. Ideas you have read, heard about, researched or suggested. Now is not the time to evaluate, judge or criticize. You just want a great list of ideas that might help deal with bullying. 

Your list may look like this: 

Child: Lets move to the moon

Child: I could avoid him on the way home

Adult: Could  you use a different street to get home?

Child: I could get counselling.

Adult: mmhmmm, what else?

Child: Stop going to dance

Child: I could learn to be more tolerant of differences

Adult: Maybe working on being helpful to people with differences would help?

Child: Just do what they (teachers, principal, police) say so they leave me alone

Adult: Would it help if we moved  you to another school?

Child: One of the other kids told a teacher and I got in trouble

Adult: What else have other kids done that helped or didn't?

Child: I could ask my friends to help

Child: I could try and make it up to the child I bullied

Child: You could talk to the teacher

Just write all the ideas…good bad or indifferent does not matter.  This will help the child see he is not alone in this and there are many options and choices…Even if moving to the moon is not feasible.

Keep going till you don’t have any more ideas…Notice the adult sometimes encourages more ideas from the kid…sometimes just says mmmhmmm and sometimes offers suggestions to help the child think up more ideas. 

If your child  can’t come up with any solutions you can review some solutions…Then make a list.


The next step to problem solving with a bully is togo through and evaluate the top options/solutions for dealing with bullying. 

What is realistic? What would work? What might work if you adjust it?  Has your child used any of the strategies in the past that have worked? What would make things worse? 

Remember all these questions have to be answered by your child. You are here to help problem solving with a bully... not do it for him. You can offer guidance but in the end your child needs to feel good about the choices.

STEP THREE: Consider the benefits/Consequences of each option

Pick the top three. Consider the long and short term benefits and consequences of each. So, you go through the process and your child chooses the following:

Because the bullying happens after school on the way home your child is going to 

Option #1: Learn tolerance

Option #2:  Take a Leadership course.

Option #3:  See a counselor to build self esteem


Now it is time  to try out your action plan.  As Nike says “JUST DO IT” Time to pause the process of helping with the problem solving with a bully and start encouraging them to take ACTION.


So you try out the plan. It turns out learning tolerance can be more challenging than you thought. However, you have begun modelling it at home. Bullying did not just start over night. So the situation will not resolve over night either.  You and your child researched possible counseling to help build their self esteem. This is a beginning. What are the next best choices. Helping the bully problem solve is not necessarily a one time thing...they may need your support through out the duration.

STEP SIX: Keep Repeating until you get results

Keep repeating until something works. Perhaps creating time to spend with your child every week. Having your child sincerely apologize in an attempt to make it right.  Change your parenting style to model problem solving and an attitude of tolerance. Tell the school and request support for you child to over come this issue….There are always options. If at first you don’t succeed try, try again.

 The important thing is your are giving your child control over his/her life. They are deciding. You are letting your child know they are not alone and there are options.  There are always solutions and sometimes just helping with problem solving with the bully can be the best option..

Back to the top of page

Back to Home page

Back to Dealing with Bullying

More suggested reading:

Get some Parenting Advice

Understanding Bullying


Bullying>Dealing with Bullying>Problem Solving with a bully

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.


[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines