Jan 10 2012
New Year’s Resolutions: Take a Stand against Bullying
Has your child has ever been the target of direct bullying, either physical or verbal? Has your child ever been a target of relational aggression, the more hidden and behind the scenes bullying where social exclusion and gossip are just a few of the negative and hurtful tactics that are used?
Well, it is good to know that there are numerous effective tools you can utilize that can make a huge difference when your child encounters bullying behavior. With these tools, parents and schools can equip and empower all children and parents to take a stand against bullying. One of these tools is the resource-filled web site, StopBullying.gov., sponsored by the federal government.
According to StopBullying.gov, http://www.stopbullying.gov/, “Bullying is not a normal rite of passage. It can have serious consequences. You can help your child learn how to prevent bullying. These tips can help:
• Help your child understand bullying. Explain what bullying is. It is more than physical; it can be done in person or over the phone or computer.
• Keep open lines of communication with your child. Check in with your child and listen to any concerns about friends and other students.
• Encourage your child to pursue their interests. Doing what they love may help your child be more confident among their peers and make friends with other kids with similar interests.
• Teach your child to take a stand against bullying. Give guidance about how to stand up to those who bully if it is safe to do so.
• Talk to your child about seeking help from a trusted adult when feeling threatened by a bully. Talk about whom they should go to for help and role-play what they should say. Assure your child that they should not be afraid to tell an adult when someone they know is being bullied.
• Know what is going on in your child’s school. Visit the school website, subscribe to the student paper—if there is one—and join the PTA listserv or mailing list. Get to know other parents, school counselors, and staff. Contact the school by phone or e-mail if you have suggestions to make the school a safer and better learning place.”
The first key to your ability to stand up against bullying is to recognize the bullying situation that you might have experienced/ witnessed as a child or are experiencing/witnessing right now as an adult. And once you have been able to develop the communication skills of assertiveness (speaking with respect and clarity/boundaries), self-control and empathy/compassion (understanding another person’s pain/perspective), you will be able to equip your own child with these skills. Then you and your child will be able to fully leverage the StopBullying.gov tools and take a stand against bullying. If you do, then know that you have demonstrated a sense of courage and boldness that will make our world a safer and saner planet for everyone.