When Emily Bazelon’s new book, Sticks and Stones, recently came out, it reignited the bullying prevention conversation.  It comes in ebbs and flows.  I can’t comment on the book yet.  I’m hoping to get my copy soon but a recent interview in the Huffington Post made me want to pick up the phone and call her.

Why?  Because her answers were very balanced and reinforced the feeling I have about the entire subject.  She actually said “untangle” and of course, that made me want to read on.

We’re doing our children a disservice if we look at this as a problem that we can just use a check list to fix.

Please read the piece.  It’s short and to the point.  One of the questions asked is about the role of parents and I couldn’t agree more.  We are giving the majority of the blame to schools and not talking about parents or the home…or I dare say, EARLY prevention.

So many books have come out lately about bullying.  I think that’s great.  Awareness is the key but the next really important step is to start using ALL the tools at our disposal and start YOUNG.

There are so many reasons to start instilling leadership skills when children first start coming to school.  We can talk about bullying until we’re blue in the face but if we don’t start giving children skills to help them step up for themselves and for others when they’re young, it’s difficult to turn that ship around when they’re in middle school.  Not impossible…but very difficult.

It’s also a perfect age to engage parents in the leadership and learning process.  Parents tend to pay attention when their “little cupcake” is just starting out.  If we can help them make it a priority and part of school readiness, we’ll be ahead of the game.  Parents grow right along with their kids.

As Ms. Bazelon points out, kids know the difference between “drama” and “bullying.”  But do they know the difference between indifference and stepping up?  That’s where we need to place our energies.

Leadership is the anti-bully.

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