Sparkles! is proud to be a sponsor of the Freeze Bullying Walk, Run, Roll on Oct. 29, 2016, which benefits Payton’s Project, a campaign to raise awareness about bullying and put a stop to it. We invite Sparkles! families to join us that day; it’s free and a great cause. While bullying behaviors are usually associated with older children, a Brigham Young University study shows it can occasionally manifest as early as age four. And it’s never too early to nurture a child’s self-confidence and sense of empathy for others. Whether your child is being bullied or is bullying, here are some ways you can help.
If You Suspect Your Child is Being Bullied
- Monitor social media and phone usage – Sometimes children will be afraid to speak up about a bullying problem. Make it known that you will be regularly monitoring their online and phone usage. Be vigilant, so that if any cyber bullying is occurring, you can address the problem right away.
- Speak up – Bring up the problem immediately to school administrators, teachers, other parents or influential adults. Ask for help addressing the problem and be persistent in following up until the bullying stops.
- Encourage your children to report bullying – Talk often and openly and make your children feel safe coming to you with any issue. Being present for your kids can make a huge difference. Tell them often that if anyone bullies them, come to you immediately so you can resolve the problem together.
- Teach your children to stand up for others – Tell your children that if they observe others being bullied, they need to speak up. They can tell you, a teacher or another trusted adult. Teach them to be kind to the child being bullied so that child knows there is support around.
- Tell your child to stay near others – Most bullying happens when others aren’t around, so if there is a recurring problem with bullies, it’s best to stay where it’s safe until the problem is addressed. If you fear for your child’s physical safety, you may want to consider removing them from that environment until the problem is resolved.
- Create safe spaces – Make sure that your child is able to spend time in social environments where he or she feels welcome and safe. This could be an art class, church activities or a playgroup that you organize. Any place where they have positive peer interactions to balance their negative experiences.
- Seek help if needed – Bullying can take a toll on you and your child. Make use of parenting groups, counselors (for you and your child) and other resources for processing emotions as needed. You are not in this alone.
If Your Child is Bullying
- Be honest with yourself –It’s hard knowing your child has done something wrong, but being the parent to a child that is bullying doesn’t mean you are a bad person, and it doesn’t mean you can’t help turn the situation around. We are all imperfect, and the sooner we acknowledge the bullying and pledge to help stop the behavior, the better things will be for everyone involved.
- Communicate with your children – Regular, open communication is a key factor in preventing your child from bullying others. Children who are seeking attention can turn to bullying as an outlet to get attention. Let your children know that there are better ways to handle their feelings and you’re there to help.
- Model good behavior – If adults don’t handle conflict well, children will pick up on that, just like they pick up on positive behaviors that are modeled. If your child is bullying another, take a close look at the behaviors of adults in the home. If you suspect there is a problem, reach out for help.
- Encourage empathy – Model and teach empathy in your household. (Here’s some tips.) Understanding where others come from and what they’ve gone through goes a long way toward preventing bullying.
At Sparkles! we keep an eye out for signs of bullying, and work with parents to quickly resolve issues. We want you to know you and your children have our full support. For more information on our bullying policy or walking with us at the Freeze Bullying 5K, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.