Bullying is all too common among school-aged kids and has the potential to end in tragedy. It is important for parents, teachers and students to take an active part in preventing bullying in their communities and schools, and this starts at home.
1. Understanding bullying
Kids must have a clear understanding of what bullying is so that, in the event that it happens to them, they are able to identify it and know how to safely handle it. In the same token, it is important for them to know how negative comments and behaviors can be considered bullying so that they don’t treat others in that way. So, what is bullying? As defined by the Boy Scouts of America, “bullying is harassment or aggressive behavior that is intended to intimidate, dominate, coerce, or hurt another person (the target) mentally, emotionally, or physically.” Bullying can happen in a number of different ways. For example, it can be verbal, such as name calling and taunting, social bullying, like spreading rumors or manipulating friendships, and physical bullying such as hitting or shoving. These days, with technology continually on the rise, we also have to be aware of cyberbullying, or bullying via social media and cellular networks.
2. Encourage open conversations
Parents should talk openly with their kids about bullying and encourage them to seek their advice or the advice of another adult if they have any problems. They should know how to safely handle a bully without engaging in violence or reciprocating the bullying. It is also important for kids to understand that reporting a bully is not tattling, it is protecting yourself and others. Be aware of the signs that your child may be bullied, and talk to your kids about their social lives at school. For example, ask them who their friends are, who they sit with at the lunch table, etc
3. Set a good example of kindness and respect
Kids notice more than you might be aware of. It is for that reason that it is crucial to always model the behavior that you want your kids to follow. Treating family, friends, colleagues and strangers with kindness and respect, especially when dealing with stress and conflict sets an excellent example for your kids and will help in demonstrating to them that there is no room for bullying in this world.