Social Life in Middle and High School: Dealing With Cliques and Bullies (page 4)

By — NYU Child Study Center
Updated on Jul 9, 2010

Steps for individual intervention

  • Intervene immediately; talk to the bully and victim separately.
  • Make other students aware of consequences to bullying and reiterate school's notolerance policy.
  • Phone parents of the bully and victim as soon as possible to involve them in the plan of action.
  • Consult with school staff, alert and inform them of the situation.
  • If the situation does not change remove the bully, not the victim, from the classroom. How Parents Can Help Parents can take an active part in helping children effectively navigate any difficult social experience they may face during the middle and high school years. As a parent you can:
  • Monitor your own behavior and aggression.
  • Provide an appropriate model of conflict resolution.
  • Be concerned and responsive whether your child is the bully or the victim.
  • Encourage your child to shop around and to make friends on the basis of who they are, not which group they belong to.
  • Know your child's friends.
  • Help boost your child's self-esteem so that she can stand up for herself and her individuality.
  • Help your child understand that it's important to be oneself, and if others don't like it, they aren't true friends.
  • Be aware of the climate in your child's school and the attitude of the principal and teachers - you can get a sense of the quality of daily school life by volunteering to accompany the class or in some other capacity.
  • Be alert and responsive if your child is having trouble.
  • Let your child know that you don't expect him/her to handle all problems and that you're available.

The first source for outside help with a problem is the teacher. If you can't work things out with the teacher, go to the school guidance counselor, psychologist, or principal.

Participation of the whole school community in partnership with parents is the key to a successful anti-bullying program and the establishment of a climate of respect and learning. A clear and consistent message must be sent to bullies and victims alike that bullies are not in charge and that all children will be safe.

About the Author

Joshua Mandel, Psy.D., is the Director of the NYU Child Study Center School-Based Intervention Program which was developed within the weeks following the World Trade Center attacks and provides services to the Lower Manhattan schools. Dr. Mandel is currently a co-investigator of research exploring the efficacy of anger management programs in middle and high schools. He also works with schools to help develop crisis teams to react in emergency situations and is co-chair of a School Working Group subcommittee of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.


Davis, S. (2001). Stop Bullying Now! Website:

Maine Project Against Bullying (2000). Website: http:// bullying.html

Olweus, D., Limber, S., & Mihalic, S. (1999). Blueprints for Violence Prevention: Bullying Prevention Program. Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado at Boulder.

Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at School: What We Know and What We Can Do: Understanding Children's Worlds. Blackwell Publishing.

U.S. Department of Education (2005). Website:

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