Bullying is a national epidemic. The consequences of bullying are low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and declining academic performance. Here are some tips on how to prevent bullying and how to prepare your child to deal with bullies.
TEACH YOUR CHILD NOT TO BULLY:
1. Model good behavior and social skills to your child. Treat people with respect and kindness. Bullies learn their behavior by watching others.
2. Monitor what your children watch on TV and the video games they play. If you see bullying behavior in a program, talk about it with your child.
3. Teach your child how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way. You can start at a young age to help a child learn to deal with anger and disappointment appropriately.
4. Teach your child empathy for others. Talk about feelings. Teach appropriate social skills: sharing, taking turns, saying please and thank you.
5. Go to the library and check out books on bullying. Read them together and talk about the pain of bullying.
6. Build your child’s self-esteem. Remind them of how precious they are to you and God. Remind them that God made them just the way they are and that He has a special plan for their life. Bullies usually have low self-esteem and bully to make themselves feel better.
TEACH YOUR CHILD HOW TO RESPOND TO BULLYING
1. Teach your child to look people directly in the eye when they speak to them. Maintaining eye contact conveys strength. Bullies like to pick on children that appear weak and fearful.
2. Role play conflict resolution with your child. Teach them how to respond appropriately and defuse the situation.
3. Teach younger children to say “NO!” in a loud voice and walk away.
4. Teach your child to ask for help from trusted adults: parent, teacher, counselor.
5. Have your child find a buddy to sit with or a group of friends. Bullies tend to pick on kids that are alone.
6. Talk to your child, their teacher, and the school. Have a meeting at the school with the parents of the bully and school staff. If the school is not responsive, go to the school board, the police, and the newspaper. You are your child’s advocate.
7. Remind your child again and again that they are precious to you and valuable to God.
8. Pray, pray, pray.