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I Already Know What Bullying is, Dr. Cherrye!
Okay, okay, I know you’re tired of hearing that bullying hurts. You already know that bullying is on the rise, and you may already know the latest statistics, too. What you really want to know is how to intervene. You want resources, and tools that you can actually put into practice. I feel you!
One of the ways you can help is to teach your children how to be Upstanders. But wait a minute! You might ask – “Are you telling me to have my child get involved in a bad situation that isn’t his/her business? Don’t you realize that by doing so the bully could turn his/her cruelty on my child? You can’t be serious!”
Well, yes, I am telling you to have your child do something, but not in the way you’re thinking. Give me a chance to explain, please.
Before I try to convince you that one powerful way to teach children to help decrease bullying is to become an Upstander, and why this movement is so very important, perhaps I should pause a minute, and define what Upstander means.
Definition of Upstander
An Upstander intervenes by either speaking up or moving toward a positive action to help the victim. Simply put – If a child sees another child being bullied, he/she realizes it’s wrong, so he/she is driven to action. An Upstander is no longer a Bystander (one who witnesses bullying, but remains silent with no positive, workable actions).
Why Teach Children to Become Upstanders?
First of all, it’s the right thing to do.
Before you think about telling your child never to get involved, or to mind his/her own business less the bully turns on him/her, just imagine your child becoming a victim – and at a whim.
Just imagine your child being bullied and needing the help of an…… that’s right – an Upstander. Wouldn’t you love it?
Imagine having a school full of children who think on the lines of and own the acts of becoming Upstanders. Wouldn’t this look like a school with minimum to zero bullying?
Tell your child:
Just be a friend. You don’t have to be best friends, just friendly
~lend a helping hand
~answer a question for a peer in need
~Let the victim know that you understand, and you feel their pain
~Let the victim know that they are not alone
~It’s okay to walk with the child being bullied
~It’s okay to eat at the same table with the child that’s being bullied
~See how you can be the leader of an Upstander Movement at your school
~clear this with the school administrator, first
~get your friends involved
~make this an exciting club, or movement
~Each day, see how you and your group of friends can point out a child who is lonely, upset, or sitting in the cafeteria alone
~take positive action
~ask how you can help
~take the victim to a trusted adult, or counselor to talk
Feeling: Wouldn’t it be nice to have another student do this if your child was being bullied?
Tell your child:
~Gossiping/rumors can be a part of bullying acts. When this starts see how you can end it.
~Can you change the topic?
~Can you say that isn’t true, or that isn’t how I heard it, or saw it?
~Or, simply say, “You know that isn’t true.”
Feeling: Help your child understand how it would feel if an untruth was told on them
Ask your child:
~Have you noticed any new students at your school, or entering your class?
~See how you can help the child feel comfortable
~Does the new student need to catch up, and could use your notes?
~Does the new student need a pencil/pen?
Feeling: Wouldn’t you appreciate and feel relieved if another student did this for your child until they felt comfortable in a new school environment
Upstander — It’s Everybody’s Business
Check out this t-shirt – Upstander Anti-Bullying Teacher Choose Kind Movement (Share with school officials/Teachers, or Teacher friend).
School officials cannot be everywhere noticing everything, so the children who are right there in the midst may see things that no one else does. It is everybody’s business and responsibility!
Important Notes: There is no way that children can all be the same. They are different mentally, physically and socially. Teach children how diversity makes them uniquely special. Teach children to share their diverse talents and learn from one another. Tell them to listen, learn, and then share. Check out my book titled: Diversity Daybook Journal.
By the way, here’s another really cool t-shirt – Be An Upstander Anti Bullying Movement Check it out right here.
Parents: If you haven’t already, please download my FREE resource guide titled: The Bully Band Parents in Rhythm. What I’ve written within this guide is what I used when my own child was bullied when she was in 4th grade. I met with the school principal calm, ready (with my documentation in hand), and I felt confident that I would make a difference as my child’s anti-bully advocate, and guess what? It worked. The Principal was receptive. She met with the student, and then the student’s parent. The mother of the bully felt the severity of her child’s actions and realized that I meant business about her child’s bullying behaviors.
Remember, parents – We are our children’s mouth pieces for peace.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below!
The Bully Band Parents in Rhythm – FREE Download