If you are a mom, chances are you have worried about bullying at one time or another whether it is the fear of your child being bullied or even your child being the bully. No mom wants either!
While, it’s true that some things are beyond our control, there are certainly things that parents can do to help prevent bullying.
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Talk About Bullying With Your Child
In order for your child to identify and then stand up to bullying, he has to understand what bullying is.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC), defines bullying as aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power. The aggressive behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.
Now, that’s a big definition that, depending on your child’s age, you may have to break it down.
The basic elements of bullying:
unwanted aggressive behavior
observed or perceived imbalance
repeated over time (or have the potential to be repeated)
When talking to your child about bullying, it is important that you address these core elements of the definition of bullying. It is also important that your child understands that bullying is not always physical. Meaning, just because your child is not being hit or pushed, does not mean she is not being bullied!
Bullying can be physical, verbal, relational (i.e. spreading rumors in order to ruin someone’s reputation or relationships) or damage to property.
Talk about the definition of bullying with your child, give examples of bullying, ask for examples. You can even read books about it. (Click my affiliate link for a list of recommended books.)
Talking about bullying with your child will not only help him to identify it should he be bullied in the future, but it could also potentially reveal a situation where he is currently being bullied. Discussing bullying with your child could also reveal that she is participating in bullying or being a silent bystander.
Teach Your Child Inclusion
Often times the kids that are “different” are bullied. We must teach our kids about inclusion - every person has value and every person deserves a seat at the metaphorical (or lunch) table!
A great way to teach inclusion is to live it. Evaluate your circle of friends and cultural influences. Who is your child exposed to on a regular basis both in life and through media? Be intentional about opening your world to people who think, act, look and believe differently than you.
Encourage Your Child to Have Hobbies
Confident kids are less likely to be bullied and being involved in a hobby, like playing sports or playing a musical instrument can greatly boost your child’s confidence!
Make Your Home a Bully-Free Zone
Children that experience an aggressive environment will be more likely to bully others. As a parent, one way you can help prevent bullying is by not allowing bullying at home - do not allow anyone, adults or kids, in your home to bully others.
Help Your Child Make Friends
Having even one friend, decreases a child’s likelihood of being the victim of bullying. Talk to your child about their friends and making friends. If your child struggles with making friends, be intentional about helping her to develop meaningful friendships.
Set Boundaries For Technology
If your child has a phone or access to social media (also video games), be sure that you have set guidelines and boundaries, including having access to their accounts and regularly checking their comments and messages.
About the Author
Hi! My name is Inez and I am the owner of fortheloveofmom.org, a website dedicated to helping moms pursue better so that they can live their best lives and raise kids who do the same!