When I was in elementary school, I was made fun of quite a bit because I looked and dressed differently. Thankfully it never went any further than name calling.
But even with just that, those childhood memories are still ingrained in me. And I’m not the only one. It seems more and more that we’re hearing about people who were bullied in much the same way as children.
Kids can be so mean and hurtful and the bad part is, they may not even realize they are doing it. They either haven’t had someone to teach them that the behavior is unacceptable, or they haven’t learned exactly how to behave properly.
One thing I knew for sure about having kids of my own was that I was going to make sure they knew how to stand up for themselves and even more important, that they aren’t the ones being the bully.
Some things I emphasize with my kids on an ongoing basis about bullying:
- Utilize teachable moments (i.e. tv/movie bullying scenes, real life examples). This is a great way to engage them in a conversation about what their thoughts are when watching these scenes and how it should have been handled.
- Ignore the kids that aren’t being nice. Most of the time, bullies will only continue to bother you if they know they can get a reaction from you. If you ignore them, they will move on and leave you alone.
- Engage your kids in activities that boosts their confidence and self-esteem. This can include sports and other extra-curriculars that help give them confidence. But it can also be from giving them tasks and jobs around the house, helping them get that boost of accomplishment.
On the other hand, what’s even more important is that my kids know it’s never ok to treat others badly. With that in mind, I ask them to remember that they should always:
- Be kind
- Be helpful
- Be considerate
- Stand up for others
- Not say anything if they don’t have any nice to say
- Put yourself in the shoes of others and ask yourself if you would want that to happen to you
For more information, check out these bullying resources:
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