October is Bullying Prevention Month
What is bullying?
There are different types of bullying. Verbal bullying is name calling, verbal threats, graffiti, or oral and written communication. Physical bullying is hitting, kicking, threatening gestures, shoving. Relational (Psychological) bullying are behaviors that can harm the reputation and relationships of the child being targeted such as spreading rumors, posting embarrassing images online, and social isolation from peers. Cyber bullying takes place electronically and can include mean text messages/emails, rumors, embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
Is it Bullying? Do a quick check.
Rough Play: Usually friends. Balance of power is usually equal, and it is positive, friendly.
Fighting: Usually not friends. Typically not repeated, and power is close to equal.
Bullying: Not friends. Obvious, direct, and intentional. Humiliating, imbalance of power, intimidation, and harms a person physically or emotionally. Behavior is repeated.
Source: PACER organization
How can you help?
- Communicate often with your child (not just when there is a problem)
- Schedule family night once a week or month (without technology)
- Listen for understanding, not just to respond
- Talk openly about internet safety and being kind online
- Ask open ended questions
- Do a quick check to determine if an issue is bullying or conflict
- Get support (i.e. contact school, counseling)
Ways to spread kindness
- Leave anonymous encouragement cards (sticky notes, etc) on cars, vending machines, restaurants, etc
- Write appreciation notes to school staff
- Decorate rocks with messages of kindness, empathy, and hope. Give out to others or place somewhere for others to find.
- Invite someone new to sit with you at lunch or on the bus
- Start each day by reading a kindness quote
- Smile, high five, or hug someone
- Hold open the door for others