For some children, summer time is a much needed break from the school bullies. For others, the bullies may live in your neighborhood or attend the same summer activities. For others, summer means meeting new friends at camp or daycare which may require having a conversation with them about what makes a good friend and how to be a good friend.
For children who ARE the bully, the summer can be used to work on learning more effective communication techniques or engaging in new activities that burn off frustration or focus their misguided boredom.
I highly recommend to all parents to use the summer time to find out what your children like to do, this will build confidence! Some activities I highly recommend are Art Class, Drama/Comedy club or class, Karate, swimming lessons, camp, horseback riding, tennis, time away from home like visiting Grandma. If we focus on building our children's confidence level over the summer, they will have more fun this summer AND it will help next school year!
I cannot preach this enough… Keep children's "technology time" limited and supervised!
Cyber bullying is ferocious and CAN be prevented! Talk to your children about what they're doing online, who they're talking to. Ask whose texting or calling. Have limits on these devices! I also HIGHLY recommend installing "Net Nanny" (www.netnanny.com) on your computer, its fantastic! You can find a coupon for it at (www.retailmenot.com) but it's worth every penny! The art of playing outside is LOST on many. Build a fort, Kick the Can, fly a kite – remember these activities parents? Let's make sure our children do too!
Here are some tips for what to do if you are a child being bullied. These are designed for children and are a great tool to start or continue conversations with your kids…
IF YOU ARE BEING BULLIED:
Many kids who are bullied feel helpless. Sometimes, they think the only thing they can do is hope the problem will go away. But there are things you can do to get some control in the situation and it starts with developing a strategy (strategy = plan) and a support system.
The moment it's happening:
#1 - Breathe. Observe who is around. Breathe again.
#2 - Ask yourself: What the bully is doing that you want stopped? And what do you want them to do instead? If you can, find the courage to say those feelings. (For example, "Stop pushing me into the lockers, I want to walk down the hallway in peace. I know you can do whatever you want, but I want you to stop." Or, "Stop sending texts to everyone in the grade that no one should talk to me.")
#3 - If you can walk away, think about walking towards safety not away from the bully. For example, walk towards a classroom where you can see a teacher you trust. If you are in a park, walk towards a group of adults or a coach.
#5 - Don't retaliate or threaten to retaliate (retaliate = do something mean to them/paybacks). This often leads to an escalation (escalation = more) of the bullying
IF YOU ARE BEING BULLIED ONLINE:
Any time someone is bullied through social networking, a cell phone, or any type of social media, it can be really hard not to want to defend yourself by retaliating or finding out why this person is attacking you.
Sleeping with your phone in your bedroom is never a good idea, but it's even worse when you're bullied online because it's too tempting to stay up all night trying to "fix" the situation—which isn't possible anyway. Same thing goes with a computer. Sleep is hard anyway when you know people are saying mean things about you, but it's impossible if you're checking Facebook, Twitter, and your texts all night.
After the bullying has occurred:
Remember that reporting a bully is not snitching. People who report bullying are doing the right thing. And the reality is adults can't address the problem if they don't know about it.
- People snitch when all they want to do is get the person in trouble.
- People report when they have a problem that is too big for them to solve on their own.
Report the bullying to an ally: An ally is an adult that you trust to help you think through your problems. An ally can be a parent or guardian, a teacher or counselor. Avoid describing the bullying in generalities like, "He is being mean." Be specific about the bullying behavior, where you are when it occurs, and what you need to feel safe. (It may help to write it down.)
If you are scared to go to school, show up for practice, or any other activity, tell your ally or the adult who is in charge. It is not your fault that you are being bullied, and you have the right to be in school and participate in after-school activities, just like everyone else.
What do you do if the bully is a friend?
It's always important to have strong friendships that you can depend on, but sometimes the bully can be a friend. If that happens ask yourself the following questions about your friendship.
#1 - What are the three most important things I need in a friendship? (Most people say, trust, respect and honesty)
#2 - Are my friends treating me according to what I need in a friendship?
#3 - If my friends aren't treating me according to my standards, why am I in this friendship? Is it worth it?
#4 - If my friends were nice to me tomorrow, do I believe the bullying will stop or am I hoping for the best and putting all the power in their hands?
NOTE: If you're the adult who is helping the child or teen think through these questions, it's ok for them to think about their answers. They need to come up with the answers for themselves so they can internalize the realization that the cost is too high to maintain these relationships.
"Aunt T's ABC Tip"
While is NEVER OK to be bullied, there is going to always be some sort of conflict in life. If you can think with your head, instead of your heart, you will be impressed with how having a plan and changing your OWN behavior, usually helps others change too! Never stop talking to an ally. If the bullying does not go away - keep telling someone until it does. You have the power, be strong and believe in yourself!
Some portions of this were derived from Author Rosalind Wiseman's Blog –( http://rosalindwiseman.com/2011/03/23/school-bullying-empowering-bystanders/)