Talk About Bullying with Your Kids

There was a recent Facebook video that went viral, showing kids in a pre-school aged around 2-7 years old.  In the video, a 7 year old violently punches a little girl in her face and body while authorities are taking care of the other kids.  What’s even more disturbing, the 7 year old boy waits until the teacher leaves the now-crying girl, so he can hit her again.  Senseless and cruel, most were shocked but the reality is that it is happening.  Who are the offending kid’s parents and what did they tell their son about treating others?  Did they also tell him about peer pressure and not following wrong actions?  No details were revealed about that video on social networks and assumptions can only be made, but still, here’s what you can tell your kids about bullies:

  1.  Bullies are kids too – just like them, these kids have been hurt by others.  Even when they do mean things, it doesn’t mean they’re any less human.  Reacting to their bullying in anger is giving them the power they want.  Instead, teach your child to firstly avoid confrontation.  If a bully is verbally picking on them, tell them to not respond.  Empower your kids, tell them it’s not their fault and to instead remind them that you’re open to talk any time.
  2. Teach them confidence – Your child may not be the most athletic or perhaps they’re introverted.  There’s nothing wrong with being different, and instead of pointing it out as a negative,  remember to love your child’s unique gifts and tell them daily that what others may see as weird, is what makes them ….well, them!  When someone tries to use these same traits to abuse them verbally, they’ll be ok.
  3. Stand brave – if they are confronted by a bully, being confident will make it easy to say, “No!  Stop it!” in a loud voice and quickly walk to a person in charge.  One thing a bully bets on is that their victim won’t tell because they are too ashamed and embarrassed.  If your child is brave enough to go and tell a teacher in the presence of the bully, chances are they won’t ever bother your child again.
  4. Be a friend – talk to your child about loyalty and standing up for what’s right.  Sometimes that means befriending another child that may be viewed as ‘different’ too, preventing that child from being bullied.  More than likely, a bully will back down simply because there’s more than one child to confront and s/he will feel outnumbered.


How do you know if your kid is a bully?

Look out for the warning signs.  Is your child getting in trouble at school? Are they offensive?  Or simply defensive, talking back every time you try to correct them?   By taking the time to listen, and giving your child your attention, this alone could change their attitude.  Observe how your child plays with others and gently guide them to what is proper interaction.  Sometimes a little discipline can be what they need – placing them in a team sport will teach them discipline and how to socially interact with others.

Reward your child when they do well and discipline them when they mess up.  Children lacking parental attention and seeking control of one aspect of their lives, often end up picking on other kids to feel good about themselves.  A great way to reinforce good behaviour is a weekly treat. Stop by for a scoop of Flavorite with the family.  What’s your favourite flavour? Leave it in our comment box below!