October is the National Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying is a trending topic that has everyone talking. Bullying, however, is not a new issue. It is a sickness that has existed since the world begun and that has increasingly grown and widely spread as the world changes and new technology is available.
While I am happy about the newfound awareness and enthusiasm to prevent and stop bullying, I am concerned that we may be simply medicating the symptoms.
There are 3 main types of bullying activity:
- Physical: the most commonly known form; includes hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing, and taking personal belongings.
- Verbal: includes taunting, malicious teasing, name-calling, and making threats.
- Psychological:involves spreading rumors and hurtful, threatening messages or images, manipulating social relationships, and engaging in social exclusion, extortion, or intimidation.
Kids, teens and adults today use the Internet, mobiles and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner. This involves the verbal and psychological type of bullying known as Cyberbullying.
My motto is “the Virtual World is just like the Real World…MAGNIFIED.” School ends about 3 p.m., but the Internet and Mobile worlds are accessible 24/7 all year round, providing no escape for the victims. The use of technology also gives the bully channels with massive endless reach.
The statistics are alarming and the effects are devastating. Bullying, in all its forms, is a harmful practice to all involved: the bully, the victim, and the witnesses or bystanders.
What we do at home to “train a child in the way s/he should go” will determine the role they will play in social settings they encounter. As parents, we have the privilege and responsibility to guide our children, and that requires time. Research shows that parents in the U.S.A. spend an average of 3.5 minutes of meaningful conversation with their children. We must take time to spend with our children and find – and create – teachable moments throughout the day, each day.
7 Ways To Prevent and Stop Bullying In All Its Forms
- Teach your children the Golden Rule: “do to others what you would like to be done to you.”
- Teach your children to be assertive. Make sure they understand we can defend our rights without infringing on the rights of others.
- Teach your children to be humble. Pride can lead to conflict in any social setting.
- Teach your children to accept others and embrace their uniqueness. Learning to celebrate our differences and finding our common ground is essential to getting along.
- Teach your children that “love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”
- Pray for your children and with your children.
- Educate yourself and find support in establishing guidelines to protect, discipline, and guide your children.
Besides establishing what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior, our role as parents demands that we teach by example. Bullying is a vicious cycle, and many of us have been bullies, victims and bystanders, and some continue to be today.
Sometimes our actions are so loud that our children can’t hear our words. Fear and pride are weapons of a spiritual battle and at the root of bullying, and eventually, crime.
This October, vow to end bullying by standing up for what is right and training up your children to do the same.