Bullying is a widespread problem, and the abundance of social technology is only making it more prevalent and giving bullies more ways to target their victims. As a parent or caregiver, you can make a difference in how the children in your care perceive and react to bullying.
Below we will discuss five different strategies for modeling and teaching good responses to bullying at home. In addition to talking about bullying and being open to what kids have to say on the subject, it is also important to be intentional about the messages you send regarding bullying.
Model Calm, Effective Problem Solving Skills
In your own relationships – whether with a spouse, children, friends or coworkers – it is critical that you remain calm and solution-oriented during confrontation. If you don’t demonstrate how to do this, it will be hard for your kids to spontaneously pick up these skills on their own.
Role playing can help children learn about bullying too. Consider the Didax Bullies Victims and Bystanders Game. This board game introduces kids to a variety of bullying situations that they might face, either as a victim or as a bystander … or as the bully themselves, however unintentional their actions.
Talk About Bullying
Just as you would expect your children’s teachers to talk about bullying, so you should talk about it as well. Kids who can name a behavior are less likely to fall victim to it, more likely to tell you or teachers about it, and better equipped to resist peer pressure or fall victim to abuse.
Encourage Children to Discover Themselves
Encouraging a strong sense of self also helps kids stand up to bullies. Some kids love arts and crafts, while others love to read or tinker with technology. Still others benefit from tactile experiences, such as kinetic sand. Help kids pursue hobbies they love to get to know themselves.
Lastly, it’s so crucial to make your child feel as though they can talk to you about anything. Be open and receptive whenever they want to express themselves. Some kids aren’t good at conversation, but will share their feelings in another medium if encouraged. Try offering younger children a journal in which they can write and color. Older kids might benefit from a plain writing journal, which they can leave with you when they’ve got something to share.
When you care for children, you know how important it is to make sure they’re equipped to face all the challenges the world can throw at them. While you may not be able to solve every problem for them, you can give them tools to solve them on their own. These ideas are a good start.