Tips for teachers and parents about stopping bullying: Mean girls. Bully boys. There’s so much in the news about bullying these days. Used to be, we more readily accepted playground transgressions and lunchroom nastiness. “Kids will be kids,” we said. “Children need to learn how to take care of themselves,” we thought. And the teachers too often affirmed: no one likes a tattle-tale.
But today, both parents and educators have become more sensitive – and I think smarter – about how bullying hurts our children (sometimes irreparably) and how ignoring bullying behaviors is a kind of acceptance.
But what hasn’t been discussed nearly as much is that the bully and the victim are the silent conspirators. And that means most of our kids. These are the young people who don’t start anything themselves and don’t protest the bad behavior or protect the victim. They watch. They might walk away. But they say and do nothing. It takes self-confidence and even bravery for the silent ones to speak out. But it’s important to show our children that it can be done.
National Stop Bullying Day
Held on the second Wednesday in October is National Stop Bullying Day. It helps bring students, faculty, and parents together to end bullying.
Tips For Teachers and Parents About Stopping Bullying
Hey! Don’t Say That!
Most children stop bullying quite quickly when their behavior is called out for what it is. A child who witnesses bullying is very likely to make a positive difference simply by saying, “Don’t be such a bully.” We can’t expect every child to get into a fight, but we can encourage everyone to speak out.
Are You OK?
Less scary, perhaps, is supporting the victim; if the witness is scared to say something to the bully, then he may choose to help the victim instead. A pat on the back. Sometimes words of support: “Don’t listen to him, everyone knows he’s a bully.”
Telling is Not Tattling.
Passively watching, which may seem harmless, encourages the bullying to continue. If the witness feels uncomfortable intervening in a bullying episode, she can help by walking away and getting help. Please encourage your child to report any bullying she sees to a responsible adult. Teachers and playground supervisors sometimes don’t know what goes on when their backs are turned. Victims might feel too humiliated to speak up. Bullying behaviors often happen on school buses. Encourage children to tell the bus driver and their parents if they witness bullying.
One of the most important jobs that parents and educators have is to make the children under our care feel safe and secure. Sometimes we need help. When they do the right thing, children can come to our aid and not passively accept bullying behaviors.