How to Prevent Bullying and Aggressive Behavior
There has been a great deal of attention lately on bullying, and for good reason. Most of us know that bullying can leave lasting hurt feelings in children. If bullying is allowed to go unchecked, it can have very dangerous consequences. What is a parent to do? Below are a handful of tips to help prevent or stop bullying.
Communication is Key
As much as we like to think that our children will come to us if something is wrong, that is not always the case. We need to speak to them and ask them questions about their day. Open ended questions (ones that cannot just be answered with a yes/no) are great to get insight into what is going on at school. If you find out through these talks that your child is being bullied at school, now is the time to have a serious discussion to see how far it has gone. Make sure that your child feels comfortable talking with you about this. Never make them embarrassed, or ashamed of what is happening with a bully by suggesting that it could be their own fault.
Empower Your Child
Give your child a healthy mindset. If your child is being bullied empower your children to look a bully in the eyes and tell them firmly to stop, to walk away from the situation, or tell an adult. Your child needs to feel that they are in a strong enough position to stand up against this behavior. They need to know that you have their back, so to speak. Cutting a bully down early on is incredibly important to not letting a situation get out of hand.
Be Present At School
Often times, just having an adult around will deter bullies. Volunteer for the occasional school event, playground monitor, or field trip. You don’t need to be a helicopter parent, but be present in your child’s school. Kids will flock to a friendly adult face that they can talk to. You might be able to stop a negative situation before it starts just by being present.
Be Their Role Model
Treat people with kindness. It is a simple rule, and we all think we do it, but then there are the occasional outbursts behind the wheel, or complaining about that one really annoying coworker during family dinner. As with all things parenting, our kids are always listening. Display the behavior that would make you proud to see your kid model. If they witness their parent berating a coworker behind their back, or being nasty to the cashier in a store they are much more likely to think that this behavior is also acceptable of them. You do not need to go over the top with kindness, but just display good common courtesy to set the example to your young family.
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