I am fortunate to work for an organization that encourages diversity. One of our employee organizations put together an hour-long discussion on childhood bullying. The purpose of the meeting was to become more aware of bullying and name calling and how it impacts young people, learn how to effectively intervene when your children are perpetrators or targets of bullying, and finally to learn how to teach all children to be allies, not bystanders (which was actually the main key message that they wanted to stress).
Being a mom of two daughters, 5 years old & 21 months, I wanted to make sure that I was prepared to help “bully-proof my children.”
We had two great speakers talking on behalf of the Anti-Defamation League. From the get go, I had no idea that this organization even existed and what great work they do. The woman that spoke during the lecture goes into schools and teaches kids how to stop their friends from bullying others and what to do when others bully you. She also educates school principals and teachers to help them counsel children that are either bullied or bullying others.
First, she began with everyone thinking about a time when you were a victim of bullying or even name-calling. In our small groups, we had to talk about how we felt when we were on the receiving end of name-calling.
Most of us talked about how, for the most part, we didn’t tell anyone because we were embarrassed or afraid.
This point is extremely important because parents or teachers may not know if bullying is going on since the child may not tell an adult (which is why educating your children on not letting other kids bully others is so important — adults may have no idea that it is going on). We also talked about cyber-bullying, which is becoming more and more common because of the uber-popular Facebook. What was most impactful about the presentation was that she used real-life examples of children gravely impacted by bullying.
Don’t let your child be a victim OR a bully! Here are some tips we learned on how to “bully-proof” your child:
–Help your child understand bullying. It’s more than physical; it can be done in person or over the phone or computer.
–Keep open lines of communication with your child. Check in with them and listen to any concerns about friends or other students.
–Encourage your child to pursue their interests. Doing what they love may help your child be more confident among their peers and make friends with other kids with similar interests.
–Teach your child to take a stand against bullying. Give guidance about how to stand up to those who bully if it is safe to do so.
–Talk to your child about seeking help from a trusted adult when feeling threatened by a bully. Assure your child that they should not be afraid to tell an adult when someone they know is being bullied.
–Know what is going on in your child’s school. Get to know other parents, school counselors, and staff.
There are also many other resources to help you understand bullying. Here are a few:
I was inspired after attending this workshop and it felt reassuring to know there was something I could do to try to help. I hope that you, too, feel inspired to learn more about the prevention of bullying.
How have you helped your child deal with bullying?