Bully, Be Gone!
According to StopBullying.gov, bullying involves an imbalance of power with behaviors that repeat over time. These behaviors can result in the bullied child suffering from low self-esteem, high levels of depression and anxiety, and often, decreased academic performance. October marks National Bullying Prevention month, and most kids will tell you that bullying is still a big problem. YMCA of the Suncoast has some ideas to help stop bullying NOW.
What Is It?: One of the biggest issues surrounding bullying is that many children and adults don’t know what bullying is. Bullying can involve repeated threats or physically harm to a child, but there are many other damaging forms of bullying that occur frequently and are less known. These include teasing, name-calling, exclusion, posting negative comments on social media (cyberbullying), telling others to not be friends with a child, and much more. Educate yourself and your child about bullying as the first step toward preventing it.
Prevention through Character Development: Children who develop positive and confident characters are less likely to bully other children and more likely to help someone who is bullied. Programs that teach kids how to succeed as well as how to accept failure can build character and respect, making it less likely that a child will be involved in bullying.
Prevention with Exercise: On the surface, exercise may not seem like a solution to bullying, but research suggests that when we exercise regularly, our self-esteem improves. Kids with higher self-esteem are less likely to become targets of bullies or to engage in bullying activities. That’s why it’s important for kids to be involved in a regular exercise or fitness program such as martial arts or team sports.
Prevention through Talent Development: Most kids have a special thing they’re good at or that they are really interested in trying. Maybe it’s sports, the arts, cooking, or another interest. Whatever it is, engaging more deeply in it can help build self-esteem, which in turn, helps prevent bullying or its effects. Find a class or a group that specializes in the activities that interest your child. Then watch as he or she grows.
Prevention through Volunteering: Research also indicates that when we help others, we develop stronger levels of empathy. For kids, cultivating this trait can decrease the likelihood that they will be involved in bullying and increase the likelihood that they will help someone who is. Look for opportunities for kids to get involved in giving back to others.