Tonight's chat is one I've been looking forward to for awhile. It's topic hits close to home, and my own experiences heightened my sensitivity towards the emotional well-being of my students. The environment we create for our students includes how we treat each other, and tonight's chat was all about bullying prevention.
Our guests were Pamela Price (@redwhiteandgrew) author of Gifted, Bullied, Resilient: A Brief Guide for Smart Families, and Trudy Ludwig (@TrudyLudwig) author of several books that highlight specific bullying situations, including My Secret Bully, Trouble Talk, Just Kidding, & The Invisible Boy. I feel very blessed to have each of these ladies as our guests! They are incredibly knowledgeable, and even though a chat only skims the surface of a topic, they were able to really dig deep and give us valuable information!
What qualifies as "bullying", and what are some signs and symptoms?
In our first question Pamela and Trudy both differentiated between meanness and bullying. Pamela shared this resource from PsychologyToday.com Is It Bullying... Or Ordinary Meanness. Trudy added rude, giving parents these helpful ways to teach them to their children:
- Tell their child to stand up to the bully
- Tell their child to ignore and avoid the bully
- Take matters into their own hands
- Tell your child they are not alone.
- Tell your child it is not his or her responsibility to make the bullying stop.
- Tell your child that even though bullying happens to many kids, that never makes it right.
- Tell your child no one deserves to be bullied.
- Tell your child that we all need to work together to address bullying.
Additional signs or symptoms of bullying or relational aggression include:
- giving the silent treatment
- intentional social exclusion
- spreading rumor
When asked why do children bully? Trudy boiled it down: in the end, it's really all about choosing to be cruel.
Include. I feel there needs to be more clarification on this, but to me I think it means to include the child socially, as well as include them in the resolution of the bullying behavior. I hesitate to call it conflict. To me conflict connotes equality on both sides.
When a witness has the courage to Report bullying behavior to a trusted adult, they have shown the child being targeted that this behavior is not okay. And to me reporting does not include glorifying an incident. Recording and posting to social media is not reporting.
Being careful of what we are modeling for our children. And on the days you model bad behavior? Have the presence of mind to admit to your children that, "I made a mistake and I want to talk to you about what I should have said and done." Even if that admittance comes later, children will benefit from learning that their parents make mistakes too.
Being bullied is a painful experience, but there is one more resource I want to leave you with. It is something I have used with parents in my SENG parent groups. The Bully Shield is a family activity that helps your children know their strengths in your family, and what each person values about the other people in your family. Feel free to use this with your family, and let us know your thoughts about this chat and resources in the comments.