These days it seems that bullying has become such a big issue, both inside and outside of school. Sadly, it often ends with violent acts and public displays of cruelty toward helpless young children. Children with reading problems are no exception, and although other children may not understand how they are affecting your child in what they do or say, it’s painful. Here are 5 effective ways that you can talk to your children about bullying:
1. Define what bullying is. As a parent, your children need to know you care, and because bullying has become an epidemic in our schools, you MUST absolutely define what it means to them so that they know it’s unacceptable behavior. Bullying can best be defined as a way of seeking control over others, and it can occur in different degrees. These degrees include violence, whether it’s physical or verbal, and can include racial slurs, name-calling, teasing, cruel jokes, and more.
2. Investigate by asking your child the right questions. The best way to find out what is going on with your children is to come right out and ask them how their day at school went. Pay attention to their answers, otherwise the bullying could be easily overlooked. Focus on asking questions that are open-ended, rather than those that end with a yes or no. A good example might be, “What was the best part of your day today?” This will spur them to give you clues as to what really could be happening when you aren’t around.
3. Get to know your child. You need to know who your children spend their time with in and out of school. This doesn’t mean you need to follow them around but simply welcome anyone they connect with into your home so that you can get to know them too. Listen to what they share with you about who they meet at school and the activities they participate in. Pay attention to your child’s body language as well as what they tell you, as this can be a strong indicator as to whether they are being bullied, of if they are the one doing the bullying.
4. Be the approachable parent. Let your children tell you what they have experienced during their day, and if they have been bullied. If you have had a similar experience, share it with them. Share with them how you chose to handle it, and even if they don’t handle it the same way, they are more likely to share things with you if they know that you can relate.
5. Lead by example. You need to know that leading by example is the best way to teach your children as well as those around you. Remember, if you tell your child that bullying is wrong, then you need to set the standard and show them in your own life that you do in fact believe this to be true. Don’t show behaviors to your child that tell them that bullying is okay, so be the parent that leads by example.