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Every day we send our children to school with the hopes and dreams that they are cared for and loved.  School needs to be a safe space.  As parents, it is our job to make sure that we are doing our part to teach kids the golden rule, “treat others the way you want to be treated.”

Today we are going to focus on bullying.

Bullying is best understood as a repeated and intentional behavior where one person or group of people tries to harm, control, or intimidate another person who is perceived as being weaker or less powerful. This behavior can take various forms including physical, verbal, emotional, or cyberbullying.

Talking to your kids about bullying is incredibly important. Here are some kid-friendly tips to help you start the conversation:

1. Create a Safe Space: Let your kids know that they can talk to you about anything, including bullying. Make sure they feel comfortable and supported.

2. Ask Open-ended Questions: Instead of asking yes or no questions, try asking open-ended questions like “How was school today?” or “Did anything interesting happen with your friends?” This can encourage your kids to share their experiences.

3. Listen Actively: When your kids talk to you about bullying, listen attentively without interrupting. Show empathy and understanding, and validate their feelings.

4. Use Stories or Examples: Sometimes, it can be helpful to use stories or examples to explain what bullying is and how it can affect people. You can use examples from books, movies, or even your own experiences.

5. Emphasize Kindness: Teach your kids the importance of kindness and empathy. Help them understand that everyone deserves to be treated with respect, and bullying is never okay.

6. Role-play Scenarios: Practice different scenarios with your kids to help them develop the skills they need to handle bullying situations. This can include strategies like walking away, telling an adult, or standing up for themselves assertively but peacefully.

7. Set Boundaries: Talk to your kids about setting boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others. Help them understand that it’s okay to say no to things that make them uncomfortable. Encourage them to speak up if someone is crossing their boundaries.

8. Be Proactive: Don’t wait for your kids to come to you with concerns about bullying. Take proactive steps to check in with them regularly and ask about their experiences at school or with friends.

9. Stay Calm and Reassuring: If your child is experiencing bullying, it’s important to stay calm and reassure them that you’re there to help. Let them know that it’s not their fault and that together, you’ll find a solution.

10. Follow Up: Check in with your kids regularly to see how they’re doing, ensure they are showing kindness to others, and ask if they’ve experienced or witnessed any bullying since your last conversation. Let them know that you’re always available to talk and support them.

By having open and honest conversations about bullying with your kids, you can help them feel empowered to stand up for themselves and others, and create a safer and more supportive environment for everyone.

Have some strategies that work for these tough conversations?  We’d love to hear!