October is National Bullying Prevention Month. In order to bring attention to bullying, it's important to talk to your kids about this dangerous behavior. The fight to stop bullying is an important cause that needs to be addressed. With this month of awareness in mind, here are Tutor Doctor's tips for teaching your kids about bullying.
What to do if they experience bullying. Whether your child sees someone else being bullied or comes face to face with a bully themselves, knowing how to properly handle the situation is of utmost importance. In general, there are three simple steps for dealing with a bully – ignore them, walk away, and tell an adult. Bullies often seek reactions, so engaging them will only encourage the behavior to continue. Rather than risk further confrontation, it's best to leave the scene and find a trusted adult right away. At school, this could be anyone from teachers to classroom aides to custodians – as long as they are school faculty members, all student reports will be given to the appropriate authorities.
Signs that someone else may be being bullied. It's also beneficial for your kids to recognize signs that someone else is being bullied. If a friend or classmate begins to show a dramatic change in personality or emotions, this shouldn't be ignored. Whether it's a physical or emotional change, it's always best to talk to an adult and share these concerns when something doesn't seem right.
Why bullies do what they do. Bullies often feel a lack of control in their own lives. As a result, they may find a victim to compensate for their own problems. In many cases, bullies have issues at home, family problems, or may have even been a victim of bullying themselves. Most importantly, your kids need to remember not to take anything a bully says as fact. A bully's behavior is not a reflection on the victim, but rather the bully themselves. Hurtful words are just that – verbal jabs meant to offend – and they shouldn't be taken to heart.
The dangers of bullying. To understand why bullying awareness and prevention is so important, your kids need to know the consequences of bullying. It may seem like a tough conversation, but facts are facts – kids who are bullied are more likely to develop depression and are at a greater risk of suicide. Bullies themselves are more likely to have substance abuse problems in the future, as well as become abusive towards other individuals. It's a vicious cycle that needs to stop as early as possible, and although these subjects may be difficult to discuss, they emphasize why the fight to stop bullying is so important.
Bullying comes in many forms. In today's day and age, digital/internet bullying (otherwise known as cyberbullying) is a real problem. Your kids need to know that bullying is not limited to physical interactions at school or in person. Cyberbullying can be just as hurtful and damaging as traditional bullying, and the same steps should be taken. Never engage the bully. An adult needs to be notified, and the bullying should be reported to the network immediately (and even law enforcement, depending on the severity). Cyberbullying usually happens through social media and needs to be reported to the social platform right away. It doesn't matter which social media network they use – cyberbullying is not tolerated anywhere, and the “report” function exists for this very reason.