ADD/ADHD and Bullying

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/

For anyone that has been bullied in his or her life, the results can be devastating. As we’ve seen in the last several years, many individuals that have been bullied are acting out in horrific ways. It is a huge deal and one that can haunt victims for many years.

Students with ADD and ADHD can often times become easy targets for bullying. Due to concerns with regulation as well as having social difficulties can make individuals with ADD/ADHD easier targets. Speaking from personal experience, bullying is a real and dangerous and its impact does not go away easily.

While schools and communities have been working on improving education, bullying will always be a problem. What makes this an even bigger issue is how schools can contribute to the process. Teachers and other school personnel can and often times will trigger bullying as well. When a child misbehaves in class or acts differently from his or her peers, teachers will often times single out children with differences. Other children will pick up on this and continue the process. While there’s some wonderful educators in this world, many struggle with classroom management. This is a contributing factor to the bullying process. And let’s face it, there’s bad teachers that do not treat children well. Instead of fostering a positive environment, he or she seeks student approval more than respect. It is easily obtained by ganging up on the more-vunerable students.

So is there an easy answer for this problem? I think it actually starts with the victim. By teaching a victim coping strategies as well as identifying interventions to help improve how one deals with these frustrations is a key to helping. Children with ADD/ADHD have enough challenges, but he or she must be willing to talk about and work through being bullied. Here are some suggestions to help a victim deal with these concerns.

  • Let the victim talk.
  • Have the victim write down his or her feelings.
  • Talk with the appropriate school personnel about bullying
    • If you feel a teacher is contributing to the process, keep it professional. Give him or her the chance to talk about the situation before reacting.
      • If you feel the issue isn’t being resolved, as for a meeting with the school principal. But do not make this your first step.
  • Tell the victim it’s OK to stand up for him or herself.
  • If the issue is becoming too much to handle, talk with a qualified professional.

What about if your child is a bully? How do you help your child? I would ask one of his or her victims to write down how the bully’s actions make him or her feel and share it with the bully. In many cases, bullies aren’t aware of how his or her actions are impacting a victim. Let them hear how the actions are impacting the victim and talk about better ways of treating people.

For more information on my ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning coaching, please visit In addition to working with clients in-person, I also work with clients remotely so please visit for more information. To learn more information about some of the other services I provide, please visit and I can be found on Twitter at ADHDEFCoach. You can also find me on Facebook, Google Plus and Tumblr. My good friend and fellow ADD/ADHD Coach Tara McGillicuddy invites me as a regular guest on ADD/ADHD Support Talk Radio. Feel free to email me at or call 773.888.ADHD (2343) with any additional questions.

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