Parents and guardians are among a school’s best allies in bullying prevention:
- Talk with and Listen to Your Children Everyday Ask questions about their school day, including experiences on the way to and from school, lunch, and recess. Ask about their peers. Children who feel comfortable talking to their parents about these matters before they are involved in bullying are more likely to get them involved after.
- Spend time at School and Recess Schools can lack the resources to provide all students individualized attention during “free” time like recess. Volunteer to coordinate games and activities that encourage children to interact with peers aside from their best friends.
- Be a Good Example When you get angry at waiters, other drivers or others, model effective communication techniques. As Education.com puts it, “Any time you speak to another person in a mean or abusive way, you’re teaching your child that bullying is ok.”
- Create Healthy Anti-Bullying Habits Starting as young as possible, coach your children on both what not to do (push, tease, and be mean to others) as well as what to do (be kind, empathize, and take turns). Also coach your child on what to do if someone is mean to him or to another (get an adult, tell the bully to stop, walk away and ignore the bully).
- Make Sure Your Child Understands Bullying Explicitly explain what it is and that it’s not normal or tolerable for them to bully, be bullied, or stand by and watch other kids be bullied.
The Bottom Line
Bullying is an enormous problem, and we must all do our part to impact it. If nothing else, remember one of Dillon’s suggestions (intended for school leaders but I think applicable to all):
“Little things can make a big difference. Simple and genuine gestures, such as regularly greeting students, talking to students, and addressing students by name, help to make students feel connected.”
By Anne O’Brien
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