Today is Pink Shirt Day. It’s a great reason to have another conversation with your kids about bullying.
Talking to Kids About Bullying
As a child, I was bullied. I was made to feel bad about myself, unsure and scared. That’s a big load for a little girl. I was bullied and made fun of for a number of reasons: the colour of my skin, the way I looked and the way I dressed. I was shy to begin with but this pushed it to a whole new level that led to depression, self-esteem and self-confidence issues. As a result, I didn’t have a lot of friends at school and I even used to pretend to be sick so I wouldn’t have to go to school.
Now I have children and it worries me that they could go through the same thing. I am so happy that there are initiatives out there to make the issue of bullying an open topic to find solutions for and that schools have anti-bullying policies.
As parents, we can’t just protect our children from these realities, we have to be proactive in helping our children understand that bullying someone and being bullied is not acceptable. And it can’t just be talked about a couple times a year with these initiatives, but it has to be a regular conversation.
Tips for Talking to Kids About Bullying
In my quest to make sure that I arm my kids with the proper tools and information to ensure they don’t bully anyone and they know how to react if they get picked on, I found some great resources and information:
1. Teaching your child to respect and not make fun of others who are different whether it’s race, appearance, special needs or religion is key according to kidshealth.org.
2. If your kids are too young to understand when you’re talking to them, read them some books about bullying that will help them understand. Some great books are:
– Bully, The Juice Box Bully, Hugo The Happy Starfish, The Recess Queen, Enemy Pie and How To Lose All Your Friends.
3. One of the most effective ways to stop a bully is for your child to speak up and say, “That’s not okay.” As parents, we need to help build the strength and courage for our children to stand up for themselves – Raise a Giant
4. If your child is being bullied it’s important to talk to someone about it and you can help your child work through it – KidsHealth.org
5. Most importantly, talk to your kids. Keep a dialogue going with them, starting from a young age so by the time they are old enough to be affected they have all the information and tools to deal with the situation.
My friend Jamie also wrote an important post for Pink Shirt Day. Growing up, she said she was a schoolyard bully. It impacted her and who she is today. Jamie is sharing her story as well show you can teach your children to be kind to prevent bullying: http://bit.ly/2S8XtCR