In parts of Canada, February 24 is Pink Shirt Day, a grassroots campaign that started in 2007 when a couple of Nova Scotia teenagers stood up for a classmate who was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt. From cyberbullying to what to do when it’s your kid who’s the bully, Canadian parenting bloggers weigh in with lots of good advice:
Standing up to cyberbullying
Bullying has been around as long as there have been kids, notes Tweenhood blogger Amy Williams, but the reach, persistence and anonymity of social media has ramped up bullying far beyond anything we experienced as kids. To help your children stand up to cyberbullying, she offers a list of tips, including friending your kids online (but mostly keeping an eye on them from a distance, and avoiding posting embarrassing photos or comments), keeping electronics in common areas where you can see what’s going on, and talking to your children about privacy settings, friending only their “real” friends, and other aspects of social media etiquette.
Cyberbullying: The new face of an ageless problem
The importance of taking bullying seriously
Stopping bullying has to happen at the societal level, writes psychotherapist Alyson Schafer in Savvy Mom: “All our social institutions and all our human relationships must shift their thinking to loving kindness and compassion in a new way.” Meanwhile, she shares tips for what to do when you find out your child is being bullied: Always assure your child that it’s not his or her fault, promise to work together and with other adults to make it stop and, in extreme cases, be prepared to switch schools. Recommended tactics for the bullied child include responding with calm non-engagement, leaving bully bait such as money or cool hats at home, and eating lunch in a group rather than alone.
Anti-bullying tactics to teach your kids
Bullying hurts bullies, too
It’s important to remember that kids who bully need support, too, writes a guest blogger on Everything Mom. If you hear that your child is bullying another child, deal with the issue right away. Stay calm, give your child a chance to explain and stress that bullying is never okay. Set a good example at home, help your child practice empathy, insist on an apology and be sure to follow up on consequences.
What to do when your kid is the bully
Bullying and the special-needs child
Kids with special needs are easy targets for bullies, says Julie M. Green in the Yummy Mummy Club, and kids with autism are particularly vulnerable – they’re four times more likely to be bullied than other kids -- because they have difficulty reading social cues. That’s why it’s vital to instill awareness in them, to make it crystal-clear what friends do and don’t do, and to draw up an action plan before you need it.
Help! My son is a bully magnet
Throwing the book at bullying
Also in the Yummy Mummy Club, blogger Ruth Spivak suggests six books to use when talking to your kids about bullying – but they’re not parenting books. Instead, they’re classics of children’s literature, from The Ugly Duckling for the little ones, to Judy Blume’s Blubber for middle-schoolers, to The Lord of the Flies for teens.
Six books to help you and your kids talk about bullying