Who is Mcgruff?
As parents you will often come up against topics that feel difficult to address with your children. This is especially if you have very young children who are experiencing difficult situations. It is very important that your children never feel as if you are ignoring their situations. When children feel as if their problems are being ignored they will begin to develop a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. These types of feelings can later on lead to sadness and even depression.
There are however many tools to help parents deal with tough situations such as bullying. Bullying is an age old problem among kids, teens and even adults. However, in the last several decades bullying has come to the forefront of society as kids and teens who have been victims of bullying begin to turn to violent measures to deal with their anger and feelings of revenge toward their bullies. Parents and educators realize how important it is to implement anti-bullying campaigns in their schools. There is also much that parents can at home to help their children not only keep themselves safe from bullying, but also to help teach their kids how to stand up for others who are being victimized by bullies.
Starting a conversation with your kids about bullying situations at school or other places where they spend time. If your child is hesitant to talk about the situation it could be a sign that they are involved in bullying or being a victim of bullying. If you are very worried about your child follow up with teachers or care givers to find out if your child has been involved in bullying situations.
If your child does want to talk and start a conversation with you about bullying, listen carefully to what they have to say. It is very important to understand the dynamics of the bullying situation regardless of which side of the bullying situation your child is on. Children who are participating in bullying activities usually have some type of deep seeded need they are trying to meet through their bullying activities. In extreme circumstances children may need the help of a counselor in order to truly understand their reasons behind bullying others.
Do not disregard what your child is saying or try to make them feel ashamed for either being victimized or for bullying others. The number one goal is to help you and your child understand what is happening and why. Passing harsh judgment will not help you to achieve this goal.
Empathy is something that children learn primarily through example. Children need good role models of empathetic behavior in order to show empathy to others. You can help your child to feel more empathetic to others by showing empathy to your children and to others around you. When a situation occurs which is a good example of empathy be sure to point this out to your child. It is also helpful sometimes to play role playing games in which you give your child different scenarios and ask them how they would react in each situation. If your child has empathetic reactions be sure to point this out and explain how empathy helps our families, schools and communities run peacefully. If your child has trouble with empathetic reactions coach them on how to put their selves in another’s position. You want to be treated well, so you need to treat others well. If your child consistently has trouble with showing empathy to others counseling may be a good option to help your child understand their feelings and how they view the world.
Getting involved in anti bullying campaigns as a family will help show your children how very important it is to fight against bullying behaviors in our schools and communities. Generally children are excited about things their parents are excited about. If you are excited about fighting bullying your kids will be too.
Use Available Tools
Most schools have set up anti-bullying tools that parents can use to help educate their children about bullying and its negative consequences. You can contact your child’s school to see if there is any literature or other materials you can use with your family as you learn more about bullying. There are also public service tools such as the McGruff the Crime Dog cartoons. McGruff has been a symbol to generations of kids of good decision making as well as safety tips for kids.
The new wave of McGruff cartoons are entitled, “When the Going Gets Scruff” and feature McGruff and his nephew as they deal with important issues in a smart way. McGruff’s bullying cartoon offers bullying tips for kids. Watching these videos together can help your kids better understand the importance of standing up for themselves and standing up for others as well as standing up for themselves.
Sometimes if a parent finds certain topic like bullying to be especially hard to talk about, a cartoon such as the McGruff cartoons can be used as a way to get the ball rolling on the topic. Sometimes the creators of these types of cartoons have more experience and education at speaking directly to children than parents themselves. These videos are created by child experts and professionals who understand how to get their message across to children.
The McGruff bullying cartoon features a scenario in which McGruff’s nephew must deal with bullies at his school. The bullies are older and larger than Scruff and his friends. Although McGruff does not necessarily come to the rescue in the cartoons, he is available to help Scruff figure out how best to handle his bullies. This gives children the positve message that adults are there to lend a supportive hand and help them learn how to deal with their own problems. The cartoon encourages children to reach out to the adults around in order to learn positive methods of dealing with bullies and how to better stand up for others who are being bullied.
Warning Signs of Bullying
If you think your child could be a victim of bullying there are some signs you can look for that are usually good indicators of bullying activities. If your child suddenly has no desire to go to school or to engage in activities that they use to enjoy a bully could be to blame. Sometimes when children are being bullied they will begin to act out at home as a way to express their frustrations over the bullying situation. Children may also begin to bully younger siblings or younger children they are around. Some children may even bully pets in order to express their frustrations. Other signs of bullying can include loss of appetite or changes in sleep habits. Parents should also be on the lookout for any unusual desire to please a certain group of friends who in the past had been unkind to the child. Sometimes children will attempt to pacify a bully in hopes of slowing or stopping the bullying. This usually results in damage to the child’s self-esteem and confidence as their efforts are usually wasted on their bullies. The efforts of the victim to appease the bullies only provides more material for future bullying activities. It is your job as a parent to protect your child from possible bullies.