How can I stop being a bully?

People who bully others often find it hard to ask for help.

How can I stop being a bully?

People who bully others often find it hard to ask for help. They may be worried they'll get into trouble with their teachers or they'll be bullied themselves.

It takes courage to stop being a bully. Just because you've started bullying doesn't mean you have to continue. Help with bullying isn't just available to people who've been bullied. Many anti-bullying support groups also help people who are involved in bullying themselves.

Talk to a parent, teacher or an older pupil who you get on well with. Your school should be able to help you. Some schools have peer support schemes, where older children are trained to help younger children deal with bullying. Peer support is also usually available to children and young people who say they're bullies.

If you're worried about being judged and don't want to speak to anyone you know, you can get help anonymously by contacting a helpline.

Why do people bully others?

There are many reasons why people bully others. It may be that they're unhappy and are taking it out on someone else. Many people who bully have low self-esteem, and bullying can be a way of coping with this. In some cases, people who bully are also being bullied themselves.

Others are encouraged to bully by their friends and do it because they don't want to be left out. Some people pick on others because they're looking for attention or because they're feeling jealous.

What should you do if you see someone being bullied?

If you witness a bullying incident, it's important to do something. Don't just walk away and ignore it. You can tell the bullies to stop doing it as long as you're not afraid it will lead to a confrontation.

The best thing to do is talk to someone, such as a teacher, parent or friend. If you're worried about doing this, leave an anonymous note for the teacher explaining the situation. Then the teacher will at least be aware of what's going on.

Cyberbullying can be just as hurtful as other kinds of bullying. If you know it's happening, tell someone you trust. How people behave online should reflect how they behave face to face.

Content supplied by NHS Choices