Many parents talk to their kids about bullying and what to do if they are the victim. Having a conversation about what to do if they witness bullying towards others is just as important. Raising your child to be an advocate for others teaches them valuable life lessons, and helps prevent bullying.
They’re Not Alone
Kids can often be intimidated about the idea of standing up to bullies. It’s important they know that they don’t have to do it alone. There are a number of ways to get others involved – starting with their own friends. Advocating for bullied students in a group brings strength to the conversation – and the result.
Tell them to chat with their friends about other kids being bullied and maybe they can all include the kid in their activities. Invite them to sit with them at lunch or hang out after school. Bullied kids are often singled out and if your child has a community of friends around them that are intolerant to bullying – they are also less likely to being bullied themselves.
They can also include adults in the conversation and know that adult intervention may be necessary. If they know of other children being bullied, they need to tell someone. A teacher, school guidance counselor, or even you. If your child tells you about any incidences and is not comfortable reporting it – set a good example by reporting it yourself. Invite them to the conversation and let them know you will go with them and support them in whatever they decide.
Keep Them Safe
Taking action to prevent bullying is one thing, but putting themselves in danger is another. Be sure they know that they should not put themselves in harm’s way if an incident arises. Instead, they should find help. Instruct them to get help quickly – not watch and wait in order to ensure they can get the person away from the bullies instead of becoming a victim themselves.
Talking to your kids regularly about bullying normalizes the conversation. It should be an on-going discussion that may start off a little awkward but will get easier for both you and your child. This will make it easier for your child to come to you if they are being bullied or if they know of someone who is.