Studies show that 1 in 3 children will experience bullying at some point in their time in school. As a parent that number is shocking. We want to do everything we can to protect our children, but talking about things like bullying can be extremely difficult even when we are fully prepared. Here are some steps you can take to talk to your children about bullying.
Talk to your child about what bullying is. According to stopbullying.gov “Bullying is unwanted aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated over time.” Make yourself aware of the signs of bullying to watch out for in your child and help your child watch out for their friends. The National Centre Against Bullying has an in-depth list of the signs of bullying you can read to familiarize yourself with the major red flags.
Help your child develop an armor against bullying. Make sure they understand that bullying is always about the bully and never about the victim. Help them understand that though it might feel safer to join in when they see someone being bullied, if they are brave enough to stand up against bullying chances are others will as well.
Come up with a plan together to use against a bully. Open up a communication with your child. The more comfortable you are talking to your child about bullying, the more likely they are to talk to you if they experience bullying. This video does a great job of showing appropriate responses to bullying.
Talk to your child about the importance of allies. Have your child talk to their friends about standing up for each other. If your child or one of their friends is experiencing bullying, knowing your friends will be there and stand up for you makes it easier.
Talk to your school about their bullying policy. If there isn’t already a program in place, talk to them about starting an anti-bullying education program.
With bullying being as prevalent as it is, with 30% of children experiencing bullying at some point in their school career, the best thing you can do as a parent is arm yourself and your child with knowledge. Be able to recognize the signs of bullying in your child and talk to them openly and honestly. Make sure your child knows that bullying is NEVER the fault of the victim and that you will believe them and support them. Be involved in your school and know their bullying policies and if they have a bullying prevention education program.