In recent years, it seems to be a rarity to turn on the news or read a newspaper and not see a heartbreaking story of child who has been bullied. To say that bullying has become an epidemic, sadly, might be putting it mildly.
With the growth of social media and general awareness of accessibility of information, the reactions and consequences of bullying on children seem to have escalated, with the result always being a tragedy of some degree or other.
While bullying is certainly nothing new, and something that most of us have all had experience in some form, what we need to remember is that our children are experiencing life in a very different world than the one we grew up in. This world is a double-edged sword that gives our children great power, but can also leave them very vulnerable.
That is why I believe it is up to us, as parents, to be on the forefront, teaching our children about bullying and cyberbullying, how to say to no to it, and how to set good examples for them. In doing this, not only are we saving our children heartache down the road, but also instilling in them invaluable life skills that they will take with them forever.
10 Talk About It
Bullying is a subject, as real as history and as consequential as law; which roughly translates to it being a big deal when and if it is come across in your child's life (and it’s bound to). By having the topic of bullying as an open, ongoing dialogue with your child, you can help prepare them and navigate through any issues as they arise.
9 Teach Your Kids To Be Calm, Confident, Respectful And Most Importantly, Aware
As much as it pains me to say, bullying is a reality of children’s lives, so the best way to handle it is to mitigate and help prevent it. This includes encouraging them to be calm if it happens, confident in how they reply, respectful, to avoid problems in the first place and most importantly aware, so they can leave when and if bullying happens.
8 Teach Your Kids To Walk Away
There is no positive side to bullying, period. With that in mind, you need to teach children who whenever they are confronted with it, the best, and often safest thing to do is to remove themselves from the situation altogether.
7 Teach Your Children Boundaries
While to us adults, the world might seem rather black and white, for children, very often boundaries are not clearly drawn, or if they are, they are usually still in the developmental stage of being adapted. By this, I simply mean that it is important to show your children what type of behavior is acceptable (friendly, kind, fair) and what isn’t (rude, mean, bullying).
6 Teach Your Children To Use Their Words
Children, as they grow and develop are a lot like animals in the sense that they rely heavily on instinct or instruction on how to live their lives. When faced with possible threat or danger, it is natural for a child to possibly resort to a physical response in order to defend themselves.
This thought should always be the last thing on a child's mind; however, for as adults, we all know that more things are solved with words then fists, and thus should try and ingrain this in our children as soon as possible.
5 Be A Good Example
Children look to their parents more often than I think we realize and by being conscious of our behaviors can have a big impact on the behavior of our children. If a child sees their mom or dad being calm, confident, compassionate, and aware most of the time, later this practice will surely be more likely to rub off on your children as well.
4 Stay Involved
One of the simplest things that a parent can do in order to help prevent bullying is to stay abreast and stay involved in their children's lives. This goes back to keeping an open dialogue, but it also involves looking out for the signs that bullying might be present. If you have reason for concern, don’t hesitate to speak to their teacher or keep a closer on them.
3 Reward Them For Speaking Up
Of all the tragic stories I hear on the news about children and bullying, perhaps the saddest part about all of them is how long it goes on for and usually unreported. Children can have a difficult time speaking up for themselves, especially if they are meant to feel responsible, which bullies can often do.
A few kind words on your end, and checking with them to see if everything is alright is all it takes, and when and if they do come to you with a problem, a perfect time to talk about it is over ice-cream (just saying.)
2 Teach Your Kids About Inclusion, Not Exclusion
Most educational professionals agree, that in order for the epidemic of bullying to be curbed, we need to start living in a world of inclusion, and not exclusion. I am sure many of us can remember a time when someone we knew was bullied, or when we, ourselves have been left out of something and know how much it can hurt.
By teaching your children to try to include others whenever possible, they will not only increase their circle of friends, but will also help break a vicious cycle that only the children can break.
1 Teach Your Kids About Cyberbullying
Now this is certainly a problem that we did not have when I was growing up, but then again, like I said, it's a much different world for our kids. While ‘screen time’ can often be a hot-button topic for many households, the fact remains that our children either are, or will be more connected than we ever were, which exposes them to a whole new landscape, one that comes with its own potential power and peril.
By equating cyber bullying to be just as serious as regular bullying, you will help your child realize that intimidation and abuse in any form is not acceptable and more importantly, will not be tolerated.