What to do if you have the Bullybug

We hope that the information on this page might help you develop the skills you need to be able to interact with others with kindness instead of using bullying behaviour.

Bullying is about behaviour. It's about words and actions. It is NOT about who you are.

The Bullybug can find anyone for many different reasons and can affect them in many different ways. 

No matter how you FEEL you can always choose your behaviour.

We are all learners in our world. It can be damaging to 'label' someone because sometimes those labels stick. We may show different sides of ourselves with different behaviour at different times, just like the Bullybug and the Gubyllub. With this in mind it is important we identify the behaviour rather than labeling the person using it.

We all make mistakes and may sometimes use bullying behaviour but that doesn't mean we can't change.

  • Acknowledge your actions

    Understand that your actions are hurting someone that doesn't deserve to be treated like this and stop the behaviour that is causing harm.

    We are not defined by our mistakes. What matters is what we do next so make sure to acknowledge your behaviour and quickly repair harm if the Bullybug makes you hurt others. Apologise and make an effort to be kind next time.

    A good apology is everything - not just the words "I'm sorry" but also shows that you understand the impact your behaviour has had on others and that you are taking responsibility for it.

    For example, "I'm sorry I said mean things to you that weren't OK and I wish I hadn't. Please forgive me."

  • Talk to someone you trust. Ask for help.

    It might feel hard at first, but when you talk to an adult and admit what has been going on, you will actually feel better as you will have taken a step towards making a positive change and will now have help to do this so you are not alone.

  • Stop what you are doing and change your behaviour

    When you take responsibility for your behaviour and acknowledge behaviour that is not ok you can make a change.

    Learn to respond to situations with thought and kindness instead of just reacting to them. For example, you can learn to recognise emotions like anger turning up and how to tame them before speaking so we say what we mean in considered ways.

Understand why you are using bullying behaviour...

If we understand why we are affected by the Bullybug, it can help us to change our behaviour and stop the Bullybug in its tracks.

It may be helpful to ask yourself some questions like the ones below however the reason for you may also be something completely different so it's important to keep an open mind and think honestly about what is going on for you.

  • Is there a misunderstanding?

    Sometimes we use bullying behaviour because we think someone else has done something that has made us feel angry or hurt when what actually happened is quite different.

    If you are feeling hurt by someone, instead of using bullying behaviour talk to them to let them know how you feel and why. If you don't feel like you can do this on your own, you could ask a friend or teacher to help.

    Try to see other people's point of view. Our opinion isn't the only one or always the right one.

  • Am I using bullying behaviour as a shield?

    It is common to use bullying behaviour to try and distract people from your own insecurities or to feel like you fit in however this is not helpful because it doesn't actually change how you feel about yourself. The good news is there are lots of things you can do to feel more self-confident and to learn to love everything that makes you unique! See some of our ideas on this page.

  • Am I using bullying behaviour to deal with something else or because I don't know how else to interact?

    If you are using bullying behaviour because you don't know how else to deal with a situation or you are not sure how else to interact, make sure you talk to someone you trust so they can help you work through this.

    When we are kind to ourselves it is easier to be kind to others too.

  • Am I joining in with bullying behaviour or using it to fit in?

    Saying NO to peer pressure or walking away can be really hard to do. Often, we just want to fit in and have fun so we go along with things we don't actually feel comfortable about.

    Listen to your gut instinct. If something doesn't feel right and makes you feel uncomfortable, say no.

    Creating personal boundaries will make you feel good about yourself and the choices you make. This will give you the confidence that you are the best person that you can be which is way better than being the cool kid of the moment!

Some activities that may help...


    Learn to NOTICE the Bullybug arriving...

    When we can recognize the start of bullying behaviour and the arrival of the Bullybug we are able to change the way we respond and stop the Bullybug in its tracks while also building the resilience to keep the Bullybug away.

    Noticing the Bullybug arriving worksheet

    Understanding emotions is tricky...

    The Bullybug can find anyone at any time and is more likely to grab hold when we are feeling big emotions.

    However, we all have the power to stop it from taking hold of us and the ability to try and repair any harm it has caused.

    Ideas to help calm emotions, think clearly and act thoughtfully

    How can I be the me I want to be in the world...

    Our behaviour shows people a lot about ourselves. Help people see the 'You' that you want to be by responding to situations using your values as your guide.

    Learn how to be the me I wish to be

Bullying is complex and different for everyone so please note that these are our ideas and should not replace professional support. Follow the link below for more information about other websites and professional services that may also be useful to you.

Additional websites and services that can help