Put a Stop to Bullying in Five Simple Steps.
This harmful behavior is familiar to us all. We have all been bullied, been a bully or have seen some poor soul be bullied. Regardless of what aspect we have had to deal with, it hurts us just the same. We would like to think that as adults we no longer have to deal with this problem, but all too often it carries into adult relationships too. At work, in social settings and in our personal and public relationships. The lucky ones amongst us have been blessed with a good sense of self or some good tools passed down by our family or mentors. For others it continues to hamper their personal growth, dim their personal happiness and suppress the ability to reach their full potential in work, love and creative pursuits.
Step No 1.
Awareness is key!! Start education and empathy building techniques at a young age.
Make your child mindful of the kind of harm and long lasting effects hard words or heavy hands can cause. Use an image of a loved sibling or friend being treated in this way. Put your child in the victim’s role or share a personal story that deeply affected you in some way. Encourage your child to celebrate their peer’s differences and challenge them to learn something new from a classmate. This promotes understanding and takes away the quick response to belittle or judge the unfamiliar or “odd’ they see in others.
Step No 2.
It is helpful to make it clear to your child that it is not only cruel and unacceptable to bully others, but that they themselves should also never condone such behavior. By doing so, they allow the bully to think that this form of abuse is okay or not unusual in any way. Make bullying uncool!
This can be achieved by explaining that most bullies act out in this manner as a result of feeling insecure, feeling powerless, or possibly stemming from some personal failure/inadequacy.
Often it may stem from being bullied themselves.
Teach your child to never suffer in silence. Tell someone. Whether it be teacher, parent , mentor or friend, never let them suffer alone. This is why bullying continues to be an ongoing problem, and often takes place over a long period of time. The majority of those either subjected to this treatment or witness to it, are often either scared to bring it to someone’s attention in fear of worse reprisal or being made to endure even worse punishments themselves for bringing the problem to light. Educators and parents can only address issues that they are aware of and are quite quick and happy to do so if only made informed.
Step No 4.
If your child has been a victim of bullying, inform the school immediately.
Start an anti-bullying campaign at your child’s school and give the students free reign and creativity. This is an excellent way to take bullying out of the closet and give the power back to all students as a whole. The more of their own ideas, slogans, and artwork that they produce on their own, the more they will embrace the idea. Regular talks in class, however brief , touching on this topic will keep the idea alive and encouraging children to air their feelings or solutions will make those that are bullied feel less alone. Praise or recognition for those that have worked
for or acted in a way that suppresses bullying should be commonplace.
Step No 5.
Lastly, involve your child in activities with like minded children. Whenever possible encourage group interactions. Focus on the traits that your child enjoys or excels at whether it be sport minded, academic based or in a creative path. This could be music, drawing, poetry, crafts, etc. The creative pursuits have the added bonus of letting the person involved in them express emotions and feelings. When children interact in a group hobby, task or activity, it promotes team work, empathy and a sense of belonging.