Bullying is a traumatic part of a school experience, no matter how old your child is. Even if your student isn't directly dealing with bullying, they may find themselves in a situation where they're watching harassment happen in front of them. Here are some tips for teaching your son or daughter how to be an anti-bullying advocate.
Help kids know what to look for
Clearly define bullying behavior for them, so they know what to look for as they go about their day. They may think someone is just casually teasing a classmate when in reality these harsh words or actions have crossed the line.
Teach them what to do when they do spot bullying
Identify adults who can help should they spot bullying. This includes teachers, classroom aides, and counselors.
Keep open lines of communication with your child
Check in with them regularly about how things are going at school. Keep up to date with any changes that may be happening in the classroom, and make sure that they know they can come to you at any time if they witness bullying.
Emphasize kindness and respect
Children model what they see at home. This means it's incredibly important for parents, aunts, uncles, and other adults to behave with respect and kindness so that kids emulate these behaviors in their own actions. Even if it doesn't seem like your children are watching your every move, they are.
For more tips on ensuring that your child is acting as an anti-bullying advocate, check out the Stop Bullying website.
Lauren Levine is a freelance writer who has contributed to publications and websites including The Charlotte Observer, U.S. News & World Report, American Way magazine, The Huffington Post, Hello Giggles, Bustle, Thrillist, Thought Catalog, and others.