(*Make sure to read this to the very end where I will share the three most powerful questions you can ask your child.)
We are going through our anti-bullying curriculum this month!
Now I bet your first thought is “But the school year is almost over?!” This is true and is exactly the reason to come back to bullying. I will explain a little more on that in a minute but first let me explain this concept.
As the nicer weather is upon us our children begin to venture out in to our neighbourhoods, playgrounds and public spaces. While this invites opportunities for positive social interaction, it also exposes our children to the negative ones as well (bullying or mean behaviour). We believe your children,(our students should be prepared physically, and mentally with a heightened sense of awareness, not just for themselves but for their peers. There is strength in numbers!! We want your child to be a champion for good and an example by which all others aspire to be. We believe in developing students that are both Kind and Strong!!
Ok…..So back to the school thing. Here is what we have found working with literally hundreds of bullied kids over the years. Often when a child is being bullied both parents and the schools will throw up their hands feeling helpless and say “Well the school year is almost over anyway”, hoping the bullying or bully will either go away, move to another class/school, or not be as bad next year. This doesn’t solve the issue, and at best only passes it off to the next unfortunate group of children…In fact left unchecked it can get a lot worse!
When working with parents of a bullied child I tell them the most important time to stop the bullying is now for two reasons:
First, every day a child is being bullied they are being hurt. A piece of their self-esteem and self-image is being taken away and may never come back. Second, both your child’s and the bully’s behaviour is being reinforced every time your child is hurt. The bully’s controlling and predatory behaviour/habit is being rewarded but more crucial is your child’s helplessness and victim behaviour/habit is being reinforced and embedded in their mind and heart.
But an even more important reason to stop the bullying is what will happen over the summer and just before school starts in the fall. If the school year ends without a child feeling like the bullying was addressed or they feel some control, their fears and anxiety will grow over the summer. Just before the school year starts do not be surprised to see the anxiety and stress build and show. You may see a mood change, or hear them talk about not wanting to go back to school. They may even get headaches or stomach aches. The last thing you want is your child to fear is going to school. The tragedy is when a child who use to love school now says “I hate school!”
Now you might be saying “But, my child is not being bullied.” Remember bullying is at the top end of the mean/inappropriate behavior spectrum. This spectrum can be anything from minor teasing, name calling or social exclusion. Boys tend to get physical, often unable to “keep their hands to themselves”, while girls tend towards social and emotional control often resulting in “drama”. All of these if repetitive can have a similar effect on your child as full blown bullying.
This learned pattern of how your child interacts with others, and the people they attract to them, will carry over to college, the workplace, even marriage and parenting.
So what do you do? First, if you suspect your child is being bullied or treated in a mean way by others contact me so I can help you stop it right away.
Second, “start the conversation” by asking these three powerful, yet simple questions the next time you are in the car:
“Johnny, have you ever seen anyone at school or on the bus teased, called names or treated meanly?”
“Johnny, have you ever seen anyone at school or on the bus pushed, hit or tripped on purpose?”
“Johnny, have you ever seen anyone at school playing by themselves during recess or eating lunch by themselves?
The reason these are so powerful?? Most kids will not tell you they are being bullied. When you ask them if they have seen others being treated in a mean way they will often end up talking about themselves. . .
Have an amazing week!
Keiko Karate – “Actually we do make Ninjas and Superheroes here………………we turn kids into Ninjas and we turn their parents into their superheroes!”