Bullying has become an increasing problem in the world these days. It seems like every day I hear something new about kids being bullied or taking their own life because they have been bullied. It’s hard to know the right ways to teach children about bullying and what to do if they experience it or witness it. My son is almost 10 and I talk to him about bullying all the time. I think having a conversation about it not just once but regularly is important so that he knows it’s an important topic. Kids often don’t feel safe talking about bullying for fear of things getting worse or them becoming the next target if they weren’t initially.
Talk about what bullying is
I think it’s important that they understand first what bullying is, that it can be emotional or physical. Some kids may think that bullying is mostly a physical thing. You see it in movies all the time where the kid is getting his lunch money bullied out of him by a kid 5 times his size using physical violence as the way they bully. Making kids aware that emotional bullying can be just as damaging if not more so than physical abuse is very important for them to fully understand. In a child’s mind it may not seem like it’s that big of a deal that someone is being teased for what they are wearing or because they have glasses and not realize how it might be affecting that person.
Be Aware of Cyber Bullying
Bullying can happen even when you think your kids are safe at home. These days with phones and technology basically being a normal everyday thing in kids lives it has opened up a whole new door for bullying to take hold. Kids can create fake profiles or just harass kids from their own. Often times there will be multiple people bullying someone through social media accounts. By sending messages or posting meme’s, and even threatening their victims. Make sure you keep an eye on what is going on not just in your kids life but also their social media life as well. Make sure their profiles are locked down and private. If they have issues with anyone sending messages keep a record of that and block them. That way if they just create another account and dont stop you can then take that information to the school or authorities to help further in making them stop.
Talk about the effects of bullying
It’s important that kids understand not just what it is but what it can do to others. The effects it has on people who are bullied and even those around them. It’s easy for kids to feel helpless when they witness bullying but don’t know what to do. I think it’s important to make them aware that the emotional scars that bullying causes can hurt a person for a long time and just because the bullying is done for a day it doesn’t just go away for the victim. Too many times we see stories about kids taking their lives because of being bullied physically and emotionally.
Know what to do
We have to work together to end bullying by teaching kids about it and also what to do if they experience or witness it. Making sure they have the tools to prevent or stop bullying will ensure they know what to do if ever put in a situation where they are being bullied or witness someone else being bullied. Also making sure we as parents and adults keep lines of communication open about bullying is important so that our kids know they can talk to us about it. I have put together some tips on things you can teach your kids about what to do if they experience or witness bullying. It’s important that they know that every situation is different and they should do what is the safest option in any situation.
Be a Voice: Speak up and let the bully know that what they are doing is not ok. Often times the person being bullied is too afraid to speak up themselves for fear of making things worse so having someone be a voice for those that may not have one is essential.
Get Help: Sometimes the best thing to do in a situation is to get an adult that can help. It’s important that they understand that sometimes it’s best they let an adult handle the situation but that it is still important that they not just do nothing.
Support: Reach out to anyone you see being bullied and be a friend. Let them know that it’s not ok what is happening and that you are there. Knowing someone cares and is trying to help can mean everything to someone who is being bullied. Help them reach out to an adult for help to stop the bullying.
Talk About It: Have conversations with your friends about bullying and how it is not ok. Having kids not only be able to talk to their parents and other adults about bullying but each other can help to bring an end to bullying.
I think it’s important to start talking to your kids as early as possible about bullying. If everyone was to open up lines of communication and have regular talks with their kids we could work together to end bullying. Being a mom of three with now two of them being in school bullying is something that I worry about all the time. Not just about them being teased but I worry about if they are being kind to others also. I don’t think anyone ever plans or thinks that their kid is going to be the one bullying others but it happens everyday.
I made it a point to talk to my son before he started school about being kind to others. About how it can make people feel to be teased, even small things that might not seem like a big deal. When he was in second grade he came home with a note from school which generally doesn’t mean anything good but his school sends home notes for good behavior as well. He had stood up for a girl he saw being bullied. In that moment I realized just how important it was that I had continued to have regular talks with him about bullying. That he really was taking what we talked about in and understanding it all. That it was making a difference. We as parents can help to end bullying. We can give our kids the tools they need to prevent and stop bullying. We can show them how to treat others by example. There are so many ways we can help to put a stop to bullying. What are ways you talk to your kid(s) about bullying?