Bullying is never an accident. Can you tell what the difference between cancer and bullying is? The latter can be 100% prevented. Recent studies show that every fifth student becomes a victim of bullying. Add absolutely devastating effects of bullying on children to the equation, and you’ll get a pandemic, which needs to be addressed with every available tool out there. Hopefully, we can stop bullying once and for all. But in order to do that, we need your help. You too can take part in bullying prevention and help your children as well as the others.
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Bullying prevention ways anyone can follow
First of all, there are several bullying prevention strategies that any parent could take into account. The following tips can not only help in case of bullying, but also improve the relationship with your child, and help them become stronger.
- Offer support. Being a parent basically means 24/7 support regarding any question and issue. We get it, it can be hard, especially after a long working day. But there are no excuses when it comes to such a serious issue like bullying. Your child needs to know you are there to help and support them.
- Become a role model. Typically, children learn to bully others from their parents’ behavior. It can also happen when a child explores the limits of accepted social behavior, but is not being punished for crossing the line. Show the right way by being the kind of person you want your child to become. Be consistent with it.
- Get educated. Learn more about bullying (causes, effects, types, etc.) to be able to deal with the issue correctly. Bullying is too serious of a problem to simply rely on your parental instincts. Sometimes, even professional psychologists cannot help a bullied child.
- Empathy and kindness. Although it can be really tough for anyone to empathize with the bullies, you should realize that typically, such children are dealing with serious issues that force them to bully other kids. Teach your children healthy relationships based on respect and mutual understanding.
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Effective bullying prevention programs
Anti-bullying programs are a great way of dealing with bullying before it occurs. Such programs have proven to actually have a healthy impact on children and prevent lots of cases of bullying.
1. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP)
This program is aimed at students of age from 5 to 15 years old. Studies show that it can also be effective in high schools but with some adaptation. The components of the OBPP include enforcing anti-bullying rules, holding class meetings, raising awareness about bullying in the school community, creating intervention plans for bullies, ensuring bullying interference by the school staff, etc. The studies show a 50% decrease in bullying reports in schools, where the program has been implemented. You can learn more about the OBPP HERE.
2. Steps to Respect
The program is designed for children in grade 3 through 6. The Steps to Respect is more like an additional subject for students with full-length lessons, where they learn social-emotional skills, how to manage their emotions, as well as how to recognize and report bullying. The program also offers related literature not only for students, but also for the school personnel and parents. To learn more about the program click HERE.
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Another wonderful and effective anti-bullying program, KiVa, is suitable for grades 4 to 6. The program offers 20 hours of lessons (divided into two clusters). According to KiVa, it is important to train the school staff first. The next step is to create three school teams, where the members would consult with KiVa worker three times a year. Afterward, the lessons are given by classroom teachers. The lessons focus on the following factors:
- raising awareness about strategies children can use to support victims of bullying;
- increasing empathy towards bullied children;
- teaching children about the importance of the peer groups.
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We believe that our society moves in the right direction in trying to solve the bullying problem. In 2006, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center launched a campaign to raise awareness and educate people. October was chosen as National Bullying Prevention month. But let’s face it, the problem of bullying is way too bigger to be taken seriously only during the campaign. We need to work hard to solve it all year round. We hope that we answered your questions and that you will share the knowledge with other parents in your community. Bullying should not be tolerated!