School is back in session. Old friendships will be rekindled, new ones formed. Most kids return to school with a healthy mix of excitement and hesitation. Parents everywhere share those same emotions. What will the new year bring? What triumphs? What trials? Hopefully more of the former than the latter. Prepare for the new year with these ten things to tell your kids about bullying.
Unfortunately for some children (and their parents), a new school year is the cause of anxiety and worry. Will this year be a continuation of the last? When will the bullying begin? Will it be addressed and stop, or ignored and escalate? Bullying is real, it is scary and it is dangerous!
As a parent there is nothing I want more than to protect my kids from the hurtful and damaging effects of bullying. It is my sincere hope that not only will my kids not bully, but they will also know how to act and react if they witness any type of bullying behavior. I have had an open dialog with my kids about bullying, and I will continue this line of communication throughout the year.
Ten things to tell your kids about bullying:
- Bullying has no age limit. You may encounter harassment at any age, so learn sooner rather than later how to act and react.
- Being a bystander/ witness does not exempt you from the responsibility of taking action. It is not alright for you to “enjoy your ringside seats” to a fight.
- Report the behavior to an adult or an authority – and then walk away. Do not linger to watch the action unfold.
- The old saying “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words cannot hurt me” really does hold true. Your feelings may certainly be hurt by words, but they are “just that” – words… never lose sight of that.
- Don’t be friends with bullies. They don’t make you cool – ever.
- Once a bully, always a bully. There are enough other people to be friends with. Make an effort to be nice to the victims of bullying – they are the ones who could use a friend.
- If you encounter bullying online: report, delete and block. Report the post to an adult and to the social media company, delete the message, and block the user from being able to contact you in the future.
- If you experience bullying in person: report, remove and disengage. Report the behavior to an adult/ an authority, remove yourself from the situation and disengage from the bully.
- “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” does NOT apply to bullies. Keep them far away from you.
- Bullying is not a reflection of the victim’s character, but rather a clear sign of the bully’s lack of character.
What have you told your kids about bullying? What has your child told you about bullying?