Preventing Bullying

Having a conversation with your child about bullying is a great way to start out a successful school year. Many children don’t tell their parents about bullying because they feel threatened, fear it will get worse, unsure of the parent/teacher reaction, etc. However, if we are intentional about talking about bullying before it happens, we can push back the lies of their bully. I want to address four bully prevention tactics; Compliments Cure Criticism, Walk away Don’t Play, Deflect the Conversation, Resist Labeling, Look For Gold and Tell Not Tattle.

Compliments Cure Criticism

Teach your child that when someone criticizes you, to come back with a compliment. 

Walk Away, Don’t Play

If a child is feeling like a conflict may be arising with groups of children at school. Let them know it is ok to walk away and not engage in the conflict or what might start at play. We all are built with an internal warning system that lets us know if we sense danger or uneasiness. Teach them to listen to that voice. It’s ok to pray in that situation as well. Ask God if stepping in or just walking away is best. Walking away is not about fear, it’s about confidence that the situation in front of you is not the best to stay in. 

DEFLECT THE CONVERSATION

Resist Labeling, Look For Gold

Labeling, or calling people by descriptive qualities, is detrimental in preventing bullying. While labeling may seem helpful to describe a person based on his or her attributes, it can also become quite divisive. With our society having a propensity to label everything right and wrong or good and bad, our labeling of people leads to putting people in categories that one side of something is right or good and the other side is wrong or bad. This gives students permission to treat others poorly because of a perceived or real negative quality. Teaching our children that people are precious and everyone has value is a great way to prevent bullying. Instead of labels, talk with your children regularly about how to find the gold in others. What I mean is what are attractive qualities that they see in others. 

Tell not Tattle

Most of our children have been raised with other brothers and sisters. There always seems to be one sibling that loves to tattle on others. As parents, we can become exhausted from hearing all the tattling, because some have merit but much does not. So we tell our children not to tattle. Tattling comes from a desire to get someone in trouble. While telling comes from sharing your heart. One way to start to teach this to your children is have a heartfelt conversation when they tattle. Ask them more questions about why they are tattling. This will help you establish motive and be able to have the appropriate conversation with your child. Helping your child distinguish between tattling and telling will also train them to know when it is appropriate to tell the teacher and parents when someone is bullying. 

If you child is being bullied, don’t be hesitant to have a conversation with the teacher and/or administration. Most schools want to know when this is happening. The best remedy to bullying is for adults; parents, teachers, and administration, to step in with a no tolerance attitude towards bullying. 

How do you know if your child is being bullied:

  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or torn clothing or possessions
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Avoiding school or social settings
  • Change of behavior

How do you know if your child is bullying:

  • Physical or verbal fights
  • Trips to the principal’s office
  • Unexplained extra money or belongings 
  • Blame others for their problems
  • Not willing to accept responsibility

Stay involved and present to your children. Also, if you have made the decision to pay for private schools. Don’t assume that your children are immune in a private school. Parents can let their guard down in private schools under a false sense of security. 

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