With summer in full swing, we have to keep up to date on tips to reduce and overcome bullying. It can happen at camp, at work, and online. Below are some easy steps to address bullying and cyberbullying in your home.
LEARN THE DEFINITION OF BULLYING!
Know the basic definition of bullying. Often parents overuse the word bullying and don’t look at the different negative social behavior such as gossip, teasing, and rumors. By learning what is bullying, parents can help their kids identify behaviors that might lead to bullying versus mislabeling social conflict. So we are clear:
Bullying is when a person uses his/her power, over a period of time, to emotionally or physically hurt someone on purpose.
Talk to your child:
Be open and honest. Take time to just make some eye contact and have a conversation. You will be surprised with the amount of information your child will want to share with you once you make this time a priority. Ask about friends and what your child does at camp or summer school. Also, teach your child about appropriate play. It seems like common sense, but for a long time some schools removed recess time, so students did not have access to practicing this social skill. Now, we need to reteach them how to go outside and play.
Monitor your child’s time on the TV, internet, and social media:
Navigating the social world of the internet is difficult. There are less explicit social rules and guidelines. Giving your child too much unstructured time online can set them up to be overwhelmed when they are confronted with a problem or conflict directed at them. Know what social media sites they are on, which video games they are playing, what they are watching on You Tube… You will be surprised with how much they are exposed to when we turn a blind eye.
Be active in your child’s social media life:
Your child may not like it at first, but make sure you are listed as a “friend” on their social media pages. Not only will that help in monitoring the content they are putting online, but it may also help discourage negative drama, conflict, or behaviors from surfacing. Please respect the legal age listed for your child to be on social media site. Don’t try to be a cool parent and let your kid sign up when they are underage. There is a reason for the age restriction. Be aware that kids are sneaky and might have a spam or fake accounts.
Model appropriate behavior:
Free your hands! Remove the phones, IPads, games, and computers when you are with your kids. Work can wait. If you want your kids to not be overly involved in their electronic devices, set the example first.
Don’t make these one-on-one talks about bullying difficult or a big deal:
Just a 20 minute check-in can work. Do it in the car, on the way back from summer school or camp, while you walk your family dog, or as everyone is winding down for bed. Make this a normal part of family life, so your kids feel comfortable approaching you when they need help.
There you have it: simple and easy tips to start bully prevention at home. No need for expensive programs, pamphlets, or books. Just a little bit of human interaction, boundary setting, and role modeling will do the trick. Start your child up for success and try some of these today!
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