Bullying is a huge problem today. It seems like every couple of days, there is a new story on a news of a child that successfully committed suicide as a result of being bullied. Sometimes, the parents were aware and working hard with school officials to help their child. Other times, the parents were totally unaware there was a problem until it was already too late.
It seems like with the invention of the internet and the access to social media with smart devices, children who are bullied do not get a break. The bullying follows them home and keeps hitting them over and over again. With no break, no relief, and no end in sight, many choose to attempt and some are successful at committing suicide. This is why parents need to start their own anti-bullying programs at home. This is not just to protect their children from becoming victims, it is also to prevent them from becoming the bully.
One of the biggest tools we can give our children is the gift of emotional intelligence and empathy. Children who are emphatic are less likely to become bullies because they have the ability to understand how the other person is feeling. If they understand that their words and actions can cause someone else real pain, they are less likely to think it is just them being funny or teasing.
Emotional intelligence and empathy are not as natural to all children, but we can help foster emotional intelligence as part of our personal anti-bullying program. A good way to help emotional intelligence grow is by helping a child label their feeling. Encouraging a child to shut down their feelings or “just get over” something will not teach this. Taking the time to say “You must feel pretty disappoint that the rain canceled your field trip.” or “I would be pretty mad if someone broke my favorite toy too.” can be powerful. This acknowledges that your child has a strong feeling and gives them a name for it. From there, we can help them learn nonviolent forms of communication to handle their emotions.
Nonviolent forms of communication can help our children have tools to solve problems and avoid handling conflicts like a bully. These tools can be powerful and help a child feel more in control of their emotions and their lives. This can help children have significantly, and stopping one child from becoming a bully or teaching them to stand up to a bully, can make a difference in countless other lives.
A great resource to learn more about anti-bullying programs and nonviolent forms of communication is Nonviolent Forms of Communication For the Next Generation. Their website and facebook group has links that can help you as a parent or teacher learn the best ways to support your children and students to change the world for the next generation. They even have many workshops and programs that can be very beneficial and informative that you can look into as well.