The third week in November each year is National Anti-Bullying Week in Canada. At Kidoodle.TV, the safety of children is our #1 priority. We work hard to make sure that our service is a safe place for kids. Unfortunately, making sure that kids are safe everywhere is harder. Bullying is something that we talk about a lot but do we really know what the word means? From stopbullying.gov, bullying is defined as:
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
- An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
- Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
We all know that bullying is a real problem but knowing how to protect our children isn’t so easy. Here are some tips on where to start.
Talk to your children. Make sure they understand what bullying is and what it is not. Calling run-of-the-mill disagreements bullying can lead to problems just as ignoring real bullying can. Keep the lines of communication open and ask your child about school, often.
Talk to your child about what to do if they are a target of a bully or see a bully targeting someone else:
- Remain calm.
- Tell a trusted adult.
- Firmly tell the bully to stop.
- Walk away.
And how to avoid situations where bullying can occur:
- Use the buddy system and look out for others!
- Understand how not to be the bully.
Talk to your child’s school to find out what they are doing about bullying at school. Do they have rules in place that target bullying? Do they bring in experts to teach children how to recognize and prevent bullying? These are great conversations to have before there is an issue with bullying involving your child. If you already have an issue, definitely involve the school instead of trying to tackle the problem by yourself or one on one with the other child’s parents.
We know it can be hard to start the conversation about bullying. Sometimes it can be easier to have that talk when the conversation starts elsewhere.
On the Kidoodle.TV service, Dino Squad Season 1, Episode 6 tackles bullying where Buzz is the victim of a school bully and the Dino Squad tries to help Buzz learn to handle the situation without fighting back. Watch together with your child and use the themes in the episode to spur discussion.
In the end, there is no way to truly bully-proof your child. All you can do is give them the confidence, tools and the strategies to recognize and avoid bullying and know what to do if it happens to them or to others.
~ Merry & Alicia