As long as the human race continues to exist there will be bullies in our world. For a lot of different reasons people are bullies. As parents we’ve probably had some discussions with our kids about this topic and since Monday starts National Bullying Prevention Month I thought we’d talk about some tips to stomp out bullying.
5 things to consider if you think your child might be bullied at school.
1) Talk every day with your child after school. A great open ended question to ask is,”What was the best part of your day and the worst part of your day?” Listen carefully to his/her answers.
2) Try to determine if and how your child might be contributing to the situation. What was his/her behavior prior to the incident? We don’t want to always assume our kids had a part in the event but we want to remain objective and try to see the whole situation. Don’t get me wrong – nobody ever deserves to be hit, spoken to cruelly or bullied. But if you sense your child started or contributed to the situation then help them recognize and own their part. Talk about what they could do differently next time if there is something they could do differently.
3) Encouraging your child to ignore his/her bully and respond quietly is the best response a bully can get. They’ll move on to someone else. If your child responds and engages in verbal retaliation it will only make things worse. On the flip side we do let our kids know that should they ever find themselves in a situation where they need to defend themselves physically they should even if there are consequences that result. But the first strategy is to ignoring the behavior and keep the mouth shut. (not always easy to do)
4) Pray with your child for your child’s bully. Hard to do but it’s amazing just how much this helps. Because God cares – both about your kid being bullied and the kid who is the bully. It might be hard to see it that way but it’s true. God loves your kids’ bully as much as he loves your child. Praying for bullies softens our hearts towards the ones we might want to snatch bald headed and it helps teach our kids a spirit of forgiveness.
5) If the bully continues to act out against your child encourage your student to report it to his/her teacher or principal. You may need to get involved with this as well by speaking with teachers and the principal. Possibly a parent conversation would be appropriate as well.
If enough people stand up to a bully’s behavior it will eventually stop. Help your children know it’s not okay to watch someone be bullied. To watch is to passively participate.
A great resource on bullying is the book Stand Strong by Nick Vujicic.
Nick Vujicic has known what it is like to be bullied most of his life. And even as an adult he deals with being made fun of by other adults. Crazy! He shares so openly in this book as he talks through how to handle with strength those who come against you. It’s a great book even if this topic of bullying isn’t touching you or your children directly right now. I love Nick’s humor and his practical advice to kids in knowing who they are so that nobody can label them and it determine their worth. Seriously, this is a must read. Of course you can grab it at Amazon and you won’t regret it.