October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a time when adults and children from across the nation—and around the world—come together with the powerful message that bullying should never be a part of childhood.
Today's post highlights five ways you can stop bullying and includes...
My Family's Experience with Bullying
I was in the pit of despair.
My sweet 8-year-old niecelette, B, had been bullied at school by two girls in her third-grade class. She cried continually and was anxious just thinking about school. My heart sank. I wanted to support her, but I didn't know what to do, feeling powerless living 500 miles away.
Fortunately, her teacher and parents stepped in immediately to stop the bullying. I still wanted to learn more about how I might help as a writer. I turned to research and asked friends to share their experiences and wisdom. And soon a book idea was born.
I share my five biggest take-aways from that research.
five ways you can stop bullying now
1. Be Persistent
High school teacher T advises being relentless:
Keep asking questions to the school, to the parents. Don’t let this slip through the cracks.
2. Intervene Immediately
R observes from her years as a substitute teacher in elementary school:
It takes the students, school, counselors, teachers, and parents to nip it in the bud as fast as they can. The longer it goes on, the worse it will be for all of them. I'm sure you are reassuring B. That's what she needs the most right now.
3. Show Zero Tolerance
As an auntie, I didn't want my niecelette or any child to be the target of bullying.
As an author, I dreamed of writing a story for tweens that a delivered strong message – bullying in any form is never ok.
Just Between Sam and Me centers on shy 11-year-old Olivia, who only wants to read her books and tend to her farm animals. But Olivia feels like a social outcast when mean girl Candace turns on her.
Olivia starts believing the cruel taunts about her are true, so she is ashamed to tell anyone about the harassment. Small, constant jabs, like those in the excerpt below, erode Olivia's confidence and self-esteem.
4. Look for the Upstanders
Rosie and I sprinkle elements of mischief to lighten our content for kids and bring hope. Olivia’s bestie, Isabella, often takes on this role as she demonstrates how to be an upstander and stop bullying in its tracks, as in the following excerpt:
5. Talk with Your Child
Pacer.org – founder of the National Bullying Prevention Month movement – offers guidance for parents in opening a conversation if they suspect their child is being bullied.
Acknowledge your own feelings first:
Parents may feel a range of emotions, from anger to fear and sadness. These reactions are natural for parents who want their child to feel valued, protected, and loved. To be an effective advocate for your child, it's important to work through your emotions before developing an intervention plan.
When you’re ready and have your emotions in check:
Listen without judgment and remember that children may not be ready to open up right away. They, too, are dealing with the emotional effects of bullying and may feel insecure, frightened, vulnerable, angry, or sad.
When children begin to tell their story:
Listen and avoid judgmental comments. Learn as much as possible about the situation, such as how long the behavior has been happening, who has been involved, and what steps have been taken.
Encourage your child to talk:
Let them know they are not alone and emphasize....
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