{Kids} Bullying and our kids

It was Sweets (my oldest daughter) first week in 1st grade. She came home deflated, sad and discouraged. A complete 180 from her usual post-school demeanor. It was apparent she had a terrible horrible no good very bad day. It didn’t take long for her tears to flow and with a shaky voice she said:

“A girl at school said she hates my ugly face. She said tomorrow she was going to kick me if I sit at her table for lunch.”

The anger and heat that rushed through my body was overwhelming. I had to get myself together before offering any advice to my little girl. I sent her to the bathroom to wash her face and hands while I woo-saa’ed as quickly as I could. The thought of another child being so mean and hateful infuriated me. Not to mention, my child was in distress for more than half the day, tormented about her lunchroom encounter with a bully. I heard about these stories, but I didn’t think I would be dealing with it, and so soon. So many questions rushed through my head. What should I do? Should I go to the school? Do I confront the kid? Do I put Sweets in karate to teach her self-defense?

We both eventually settled down and Sweets told me the whole story–turns out it was an older kid flexing her 5th grade muscle in front of her fellow upperclassmen and decided to make an example out of the first kid she saw–my Sweetness. The next day I was on the phone with the principal. She needed to know about the harassment going on in her school and intervention was needed. Luckily this situation became a learning lesson for all the girls involved. And Sweets was able to gain the trust of her school officials because they promised her that she could always come to them with any concerns.

But stories of bullying don’t always turn out with such a happy ending. With October being National Bullying Prevention month, this is our opportunity to open the lines of communication with our kids about this pressing issue. Bullying and harassment are a serious issue that many of kids are facing everyday. That old adage that “kids will be kids” is an insufficient excuse for us as adults to turn a blind eye to the mental and physical abuse innocent kids are subjected to. Nationally an estimated 160,000 kids miss school everyday because of bullying. Bullying can lead to depression, attempted suicide, loss of sleep, weight loss and anxiety disorders. Now more than ever it’s imperative we inspire our children to stand up against bullying. It takes more than telling our children not to be bullies. We need to engage and encourage children to stand up FOR one another. Here’s some strategies to teach our children about how to deal with bullying:

  • Teach your child to speak up–I’m so happy my daughter had the courage to tell me what was going on at school. Many kids are afraid or embarrassed to let people know what’s going on around them. Ensure that your child has a healthy environment to let you know what’s happening. Encourage them to speak up when something happens.
  • Motivate your child to participate in positive activities–Keep kids busy with positive activities. Sports or games that require team building exercises helps kids maintain healthy and positive relationships with their peers.
  • Instill confidence in your child–Have an active role in your child’s life. Teach your kids to have confidence, positive self-image and self-esteem. Support, engage and encourage the positive successes in their lives. Having self-confidence helps protect kids from becoming victims.
  • Offer advice on what to do if they witness bullying–Oftentimes kids stand around and witness bulllying. Teaching kids to go get help can help stop the bullying.

Have you had a discussion with your kids about bullying? Here’s a video with a very positive message. It’s worth showing to your kids.

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Categories: Education, Health, Parenting, School

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