October is Bullying Prevention Month. It deserves its own month because the terrible effects of peer mistreatment cannot be ignored, especially when you add cyberbullying to the mix. Bullying prevention efforts are most often geared towards middle and high schools and there’s a good reason for that. Bullying behavior peaks in the middle school years.
But it doesn’t start then. It starts as early as 4 years old.
Believe it or not, parents, the child’s first teachers, are the real secret weapon. Along with teaching young ones to look both ways when they cross the street, brush their teeth, and dress themselves, parents are the main source for teaching respect. Home is where children learn to respect themselves and others. School is where it’s reinforced.
4 Early Prevention Lessons that Help Us Raise Little Leaders. Leadership is the Anti-Bully:
Correct Bad Behavior:
• Do a course correction in real time when bad behavior happens. Children test their limits but it’s important to step in when it happens. If they don’t understand what’s not acceptable in your presence, they won’t understand it in the classroom. Spare them unnecessary “time outs” by getting the point across when they’re home.
Compliment Good Behavior:
• Kids want attention. They’ll take it any way they can. They are motivated when adults point out the good things they’re doing. They especially like it when they “overhear” parents telling other people how good they are. Getting them to repeat the positive behavior is the payoff.
Care and Teach Kindness:
• According to Harvard, kindness can be taught. Being a good role model, reading books, and getting them involved in charity are a few ways to make it a part of everyday life. Believe it or not, even watching a good movie can be full of teachable moments.
• The most common piece of bullying prevention advice that experts give kids is “tell a trusted adult.” Sounds simple — but is it? Statistically, most kids don’t tell. As a matter of fact, over 64% of kids don’t seek adult help for a variety of reasons, including being embarrassed or being unsure how we’ll react. Neither overreacting (I’m going to give that bully a piece of my mind!) or under reacting (Just ignore it) works. In order for kids to trust they need to feel confident
that someone is truly listening. In other words, react so they will come back.
Parents are superheroes when they teach children what leadership looks like. These skills will help them build friendships, do their best in school and add to a peaceful classroom and a happy home.
What’s better than that?