So, what about parents and bullying?
The most important things we can teach our children are the value of respect, the rewards of cooperation, and to be inherently tolerant of the lifestyles of others around us, so that, in turn, they will be accepting of us. A lot of parents tend to overlook a few very simple aspects when educating their children socially in, and outside of school.
When children are young, they are sponges thirsty for information, they learn by watching those around them and listening to the opinions of their elders and those they look up to. As they grow, their opinions may change, mature, or stray down an unfamiliar path, the role of parents is to set an example their children will be proud to follow and learn from. When children reach early schooling their social systems change, they are discovering themselves, their young identities, and those around them. A crucial stage for any child, the best thing they can have is a supportive and healthy system at home. These following steps will provide insight into a cooperative and supportive relationship between parents and children, that can promote not only good behaviour, but respect, tolerance, and tools to avoid and decrease the chance of bullying, on either side of the fence. Learn more about Parents and Bullying below!
Parents and Bullying Tips: Be Open.
Parents sometimes forget that their once bouncing bundles of joy are growing every second and are slowly but surely becoming a person with an identity greater than, “my child.” In this, it’s important to talk to your children. But what about?! This is where things get muddy, nobody wants to have an awkward talk with mom and dad, and no parent wants to appear as any less of an authority to their children, but, at a certain age (as early as seven) parent’s should have the communication lines open with their children. So the question remains, what to talk about? How much it too much? Is my child ready to hear this? The answer is: Anything! When your child begins school, they go from spending most of their time around the house, to forming relationships with children and adults that are foreign to them. There is plenty to talk about, and plenty of time to do so.
More on Parents and Bullying below…
The car ride home, a trip to the market, dinner, playtime, just talk! Talk about their day with them, what they did in school, who their friends are, what they liked about class. Tell them about your day, now, you might want to save the fiscal reviews and politics for more adult conversation, but kids love to be involved. Talk about football scores, a phone call to grandma, something you remembered from your childhood – the point of this is, you get the conversation flowing. You are showing your children that you are interested and invested in their lives without being overbearing. By including them in YOUR conversations, you’re showing them that you trust them to handle adult situations, (even if, early on, these situations aren’t as serious as they might become.) and that you appreciate their input. When parents and children have a good communication from a young age, it will be much easier for them to relate to you, their friends, and others in general. Building trust is an important part of early foundation, and when your kids feel comfortable, so will you! It’s all about building.
Parents and Bullying Tips: Off Limits and High Priority.
In the vein of talking and keeping open lines of communication, this next tip covers a topic that no doubt racks the brains of parents and kids alike. How soon is too soon to talk about “The Big Issues?” It’s a daunting task, and you’re not always ready for it, but this tip will hopefully help you decide when it’s right to start talking hard facts.
In this day and age, information is easily available to your children. They have a world at their fingertips and aren’t afraid to access it. With most children learning to use smart phones before their teens, and even more accessing the internet, it’s very easy for adult themes to become apparent in their mental set. YOUR JOB, is to get there first. Now, this isn’t to say you should bombard your kid right out of the womb with the woes and follies of the world, but, before your child gets anywhere near the internet, a smartphone, or any other anonymous social network, you should be able to explain to them what lies in wait. Don’t be afraid, that’s the main thing to keep in mind, an educated child has an artillery to fight negative influences from his environment and social set. As soon as your child starts school, there should be an open discussion about treating others with respect. All lifestyles should be respected, keeping an open mind is important, and is an important thing to pass onto your children. Be sure to speak kindly, no one likes a lecture. Just make sure that the hard topics are covered.
Sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and physical appearance are the ranked among the top five reasons reported that kids are being bullied or criticized, sometimes as early as elementary school. No matter the view of your household, these are things that you should teach your children are not to be discriminated against, they may not fully understand the full weight of what these classifications hold, but teaching them to accept others despite them, is one of the most helpful things you can do. Remember, your main goal here is to mould your child into the most compassionate person they can be, so that they are not pressured into becoming bullies themselves. A world with less bullies, means more people are loving, more people are accepting, and more people are progressing. These SAME TOOLS, will help provide defence in your child’s case if they become the subject of bullying. These tips instill maturity at an early age, and in that, your child will have much less trouble adjusting to social situations.
Parents and Bullying Tips: Privacy is Important.
As your child reaches middle school, they are juggling a plethora of responsibility, at home, at school, and in their personal relationships. It’s a shocking day when you realize there are quite a few things you just don’t know about your child, but some of those things are important in preserving identity. The trick is to know when to pry, and when to back off.
This is where our previous steps come into play! If you have established an open relationship with your child from early on, it will be easier to identify this crucial cut off. What you have to keep in mind, is that your child is slowly but surely becoming a young adult, there are some things they just don’t want to discuss with parents! But the issue of bullying, shouldn’t be one of them. Bullying is a harsh experience, whether it be physical, mental, or emotional, there is a level of humiliation that accompanies it that no one is proud to fall victim to. You don’t need to go rummaging around in their early personal lives, you just need to be able to know when something might be troubling them more than usual. That’s why, it’s important to acknowledge changes.