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Bullying: What You Can Do to Keep Your Kids Safe

Everyone recognizes physical forms of bullying, but relational bullying (spreading rumors, social exclusion, cyber bullying, etc.) can be even more destructive because it is more subtle and harder to identify, said Sandra McLeod Humphrey. Humphrey, author of Hot Issues, Cool Choices: Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure Popularity, and Put-Downs, said this type of bullying is difficult to cope with because it can be devastating to the victim's self-esteem. She provides some action items for parents and kids to prevent or manage bullying incidents.
Parent Tips: What you can do as a parent to prevent bullying.

  • Listen: Encourage your children to talk about school, friends, activities, etc.
  • Take your children's complaints of bullying seriously: Remember that children are often afraid or ashamed to tell parents that they have been bullied and a simple bullying incident may turn out to be quite significant.
  • Watch for symptoms of victimization: Social withdrawal, drop in grades, personality changes, etc.
  • Use children's books to initiate a discussion about bullying: Judy Blume's Blubber is a classic novel about classroom dynamics, shifting alliances, and the bullying that can go on unseen by adults. Trudy Ludwig's Just Kidding emphasizes the distinction between "tattling" (trying to get someone in trouble) and "reporting" (trying to help someone in trouble). Hot Issues, Cool Choicesoffers specific bullying scenarios which encourage readers to talk about the choices they would make. And for adults, Barbara Coloroso's The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystanderprovides a wealth of valuable information and suggestions. 
Student Tips: Pass these tips along to your children.
Remember, bullying is all about power and control, so try not to give the bully that power or control):

  • Ignore the bully when possible: The bully is waiting for you to react, so stay calm and don't react.
  • There's strength in numbers:Bullies generally don't pick on groups, so hang with your friends.
  • Don't retaliate in kind: This usually will just escalate the situation. Violence generally leads to more violence.
  • Tell an adult you trust: If the bullying continues, tell a parent, teacher, or some other adult you trust.
  • Don't underestimate your role as bystander: Bystanders can unintentionally facilitate a bullying situation through their inactions or they can choose to help stop it.
Remember, no one deserves to be bullied, so don't suffer in silence. Do something or tell someone.

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Comment by Melina Druga on March 20, 2019 at 10:24am

Thanks.  I hope your kids won't ever have to experience it either.  :)

Comment by Becka M on March 20, 2019 at 10:18am

Kids are cruel, that is for sure! I hope she doesn't have to go through this. :) 

Comment by Melina Druga on March 20, 2019 at 10:17am

I'm sorry to hear that you were in the same boat as I was.  Hugs.  I'd like to think that we came out of our experiences as wiser, more compassionate people because of it.

My daughter so far has had a good experience, but I'm paranoid as she gets older.  I'm impressed with our school district being proactive to prevent bullying, though.  They start teaching the kids in kindergarten about having character and about kindness and respect.

Comment by Becka M on March 20, 2019 at 10:09am

I agree too. It doesn't always work. I know some pole just want the attention, but so many will just keep it going. I am lucky, so far, my kids did not experience what I did. Constant bullying, mocking etc, from 2nd grade through high school. :/. Sadly, no one did anything and blamed me. :( 

Comment by Melina Druga on March 20, 2019 at 10:07am

Thanks for this post.  As a victim of relational bullying while I was in school, I can attest first-hand to how devastating it can be psychologically and emotionally.

I do disagree, however, on the advice that ignoring the bulies makes them stop.  This did not work in my case and only gave the bullies (this happened in all 12 years of school) the permission to continue their bad behavior.  Also, school administrators knew what was happening and did nothing to stop it.

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