Bullying is an ongoing emergency, and emergencies require urgent action. Each week, Kidpower will be featuring an Emergency Action you can take to help protect the young people in your life from bullying.
The first Emergency Action to take is: Make SURE Kids Know You Care.
TELL every young person in your life that you care by saying:
1. ”You have the right to be safe and the responsibility to act safely towards others.”
2. ”Your safety and happiness are the most important things in the world to me. If anything bothers you, I want to know, and I will do my best to help you.” (Even if a child is unhappy about something that is necessary, such as having to come in from recess, it’s better for them to talk to you about their feelings. You can listen with compassion and help them learn to find ways to feel better.)
3. “Even if we can’t fix a problem at first, we will keep working on it until we figure out what to do.”
Because kids often forget, keep reminding them. Ask once in a while, “Is there anything you’ve been wondering or worrying about that you have not told me?”
SHOW young people in your life you care by listening in a calm, caring way when they come to you with their problems:
1. No matter what you think they should have done differently or how trivial it seems to you, no matter how busy you are, start by saying, “Thank you for telling me.” Remember that a child who is complaining about someone needs help – even if this help is in finding more positive ways of getting attention or being powerful.
2. Listen compassionately rather than telling kids not to be upset or giving a lecture. Ignoring or suppressing upset feelings might cause a child to hide these feelings from you but does not make the hurt go away. Hidden hurt can build up like the pressure inside of a soda bottle and might explode into unsafe actions. Instead, kids can learn to manage upset feelings if they feel safe talking about them, get support in solving problems, and learn how to manage their emotions.
3. Take charge of your own feelings so that you act calmly instead of overreacting. It’s normal to feel worried and upset when you learn about a potential threat to your child’s well being, but if you get very upset, your child may try to take care of you or shut down.
For more ideas on what to do if your child is being bullied, see Bullying in Schools: Seven Solutions for Parents.
And please share this message with everyone you know!
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