Bullying has gone from being an unfortunate incident on the playground to a full-blown epidemic. From low self-esteem to substance abuse, the effects of bullying can be lifelong and in some cases, fatal. I could go on endlessly about the damaging effects of being bullied, but as someone who has extensively worked with children and understands their behavior, it is imperative for me to discuss how NOT to raise a bully.
1. Bullying is a learned trait in most cases. As adults we need to be careful how we treat others in personal, social and professional settings. If you’re okay alienating and ridiculing those who are different, there’s a GREAT possibility that your child will also exhibit the same harsh behavior. “Do as I say, Not as I do” has proven to be one of the most ineffective teaching tactics when it comes to our youth.
2. Don’t let your child be a bystander. Many parents feel that teaching their children to be bystanders is a safe way to keep them away from harm. This is far from the truth. Teaching one to stand up for what is right is not only a moral obligation, but also a confirmed way to improve a child’s self-image. Standing up for those who can’t defend themselves doesn’t mean getting physically involved in an altercation. Here are some effective and safe anti-bullying tactics you can teach your child: befriend and comfort those who feel isolated; report cruel and aggressive behavior to an adult immediately; never participate in watching someone get bullied; and it’s only a joke if everyone is laughing. And as a cherry on top, studies and my personal teaching experience has shown that students who help others, academically outperform those who stay silent.
3. Expose your child to the beauty in our differences. Whether it is gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or disability, teaching how to respect differences will help children mature into well-adjusted adults. As we evolve as humans, the norms of society are continuously evolving too. Make sure your children (and you) are ready to accept and stand up for the new normal. As Audre Lorde so thoughtfully stated: “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences.”
⇒Disclaimer: These tips are based on my education, research and experiences as a teacher. What I hold as being true, may not be your belief. I simply hope to help in some small way. Happy reading!