How to Deal With Soccer Bullies Who Push Kids Down


You registered your child for soccer for fun, exercise and teamwork, but when he's being bullied on the field, everything else takes a backseat. A soccer bully who pushes your child on the field, yells names or otherwise harasses other players is probably a bully off the field as well. While your first instinct might be to tell his parents, your child's coach and the opposing coach should act as your mediators to get the bullying to stop, so your child can enjoy playing soccer again.

  • Listen to your child and take him seriously when he reports bullying. Being bullied on the soccer field can reduce your child's love for the game. He might purposely try to miss playing or ask to stop altogether. By taking his complaints seriously, you can restore his love for the game and make it fun again, which can create a lifelong love of sports and fitness.

  • Talk to your child's coach first, suggests Dr. Joel Haber on his RespectU website. While approaching the bully's parents might seem natural, there's a chance that they may become defensive when you accuse their child of bullying. Instead, the coach acts as a go-between for your child and the bully, helping to resolve the issue with the other player's coach before involving the parents.

  • Ask your child's coach for a concrete action plan as to how she'll address the bully. Whether it's alerting the referee to a potential problem or having a brief word with the other player's coach, it's important to know that your child's coach won't simply sweep the issue under the proverbial rug. That way, your child feels heard and protected by his parents and his coach.

  • Involve the bully's parents if the behavior isn't resolved by the coaches or your child's defense tactics. Approach the topic gently and let the parents know that you've noticed some physical behavior on the field. There's no guarantee that the bully's parents will be receptive to the conversation -- they might become defensive or insist that it's the nature of the game -- but at least you've notified them of the problem so they're more aware in the future.

  • Give your child several options on how to deal with a bully who is physically violent to him on the soccer field. For instance, he can try taking initiative and talking nicely to the bully first to throw him off-guard, suggests psychologist and bullying expert Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D., in an article for Another line of defense would be to yell loudly for a bully to stop when on the field, which can alert the coaches, parents and ref of the problem. If the bullying continues, your child can even choose to sit on the sideline or change teams to avoiding playing with or against a bully.

    Giving your child an array of choices puts him in the driver's seat. He then feels more in control of a situation that can otherwise make him feel small and helpless.


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