There’s a lot going on in the month of October. It is finally beginning to feel like fall, school is in full swing, and everything is pumpkin spiced. The start of October also kicks off National Bullying Prevention month which we would like to shine more light on. Each week, we’ll cover a new area of Bullying Prevention and how you and your family can share in helping us #StopTheBullying.
When you buy a house, you always check the foundation; that’s just common sense. Then, you’ll check out the inner support system and framing. The foundation will keep the house level, but the framing will prevent the house from crashing in on itself, right?
Much like homes have a support system, so do we. We surround ourselves and our families with friends, relatives, and community members. When it comes to bullying prevention, you can’t force anyone into action, but you can be a force of positive peer influence! Try a few of these things….
- Respect the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of others. A study from the Making Caring Common Project at Harvard University found that, instead of teaching “perspective-taking”, kids learn true empathy by learning how to understand, value, and respect the opinions of others, even if they don’t agree. Simple actions like waiting until the other person is finished talking before you start, actively listening to others, and discussing rather than arguing are all great ways to role model for your kids.
- Make the most of teachable moments. As a parent, you are surrounded with moments to teach your child. When you lose your cool (as we all do), teach the importance of an apology; no matter how small the matter may seem. When someone looks like they could use a hand, discuss being helpful and kind; even if the other person says ‘no, thank you’. Use everyday occurrences to role model for and teach your child important social skills.
- Say something when you see something. The best way to role model and prevent bullying? To be an upstander! If you see or hear, bullying, gossip or intentional exclusion, speak up. Show your children and those around you how to stand up for others and that bullying is not tolerated.
- Talk to your children about good behavior and being kind. Having a continuous conversation about kindness stresses the importance to kids. Ask your child to tell you one nice thing they did that day for another person. Talk about what to do when they don’t like or agree with someone and how to handle various situations. Brainstorm random acts of kindness to spread while you’re running errands together like paying for the coffee of the person behind you, leaving anonymous sticky notes with kind messages on them on a bathroom mirror, or placing coupons you aren’t going to use next to that product in the grocery store.