Bullying has become a serious concern for parents from varying demographics, and living in suburban or rural areas is not a guaranteed way to protect children from the devastating effects of bullying. If you are a parent, there are a few things you can do to reduce the chances of your child becoming a victim or aggressor in a bullying situation.
Lead by example.
Some children view their parents as role models. Avoid aggressive behavior and negative talk in the presence of your children. For example, exhibiting road rage or teasing others on a regular basis are behaviors you should cease.
Teach your child as early as you feel they can understand.
Teaching children about bullying does not have to be a boring lecture filled with big words. For example, if you were watching a cartoon show with a younger child and one of the characters did something to hurt the feelings of another character, you could point out the sad character. Offer them a suggestion about how to treat someone who has had their feelings hurt.
Older children may be exposed to more graphic bullying situations on popular television shows, and they may view those behaviors as the norm if they witness them at school. Ask them how they would respond to a bullying situation. Offer them appropriate examples of how to react.
The most important thing you can teach a victim or young witness of bullying is to report the incident to an adult. Ensure they understand that they may have to tell another adult if the first one does not intervene.
Do not ignore signs from potential bullying aggressors.
If your child struggles with understanding why bullying is wrong, try asking them how they would feel if someone bullied them. If this tactic does not work and your child has been named as an aggressor, consider counseling as an option to reduce the chances of escalating behaviors.
Get the discussion started in your community with an anti-bullying event.
Including an anti-bullying campaign in your community is one of the best ways to connect with other parents and get to know their children. These social interactions can serve as the foundation of educating children and parents. An anti-bullying speaker is a good resource to use when planning an event for your area. They can provide concrete examples and statistics in an easy-to-understand matter. You can make your event fun and encourage children to interact with each other by including team building activities.