It was a huge blessing to attend the 2013 conference of the International Bullying Prevention Association (IBPA) in Nashville, Tennessee earlier this week. The experts and authors shared so many useful resources and practical strategies for keeping our kids safe and focused on kindness and empathy. During my next several blog posts, I’d like to share some of the bullying prevention information and resources from the conference. It’s my sincerest hope that something passed along here might spark an idea to help a child who is struggling. Every little effort helps.
BULLYING PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION TIPS(Excerpted from the Anti-Defamation League website and a conference presenter – www.adl.org/combatbullying)
(Part 1 of 2)
1. Increase Communication Initiate discussion about your children’s social and online lives on a regular basis. Ask specific questions that generate meaningful dialogue (e.g., instead of “How was school?,” try “What is lunchtime like at your school—who do you sit with, what do you do and what do you talk about?”). Make sure that your demeanor communicates genuine interest and openness as opposed to the desire to control or invade privacy.
2. Monitor Behavior Observe your children in different settings by volunteering at school, participating in extracurricular activities and being watchful during social gatherings. If you notice that your children are overly aggressive, vulnerable to peer pressure or exhibit other behavior that troubles you, talk to them about your concerns and redirect the behavior. Be vigilant about the warning signs associated with bullying behavior (e.g., social withdrawal, fear of attending school, avoidance of or preoccupation with technology) and trust your instinct to intervene if your children don’t seem to be their usual selves.
3. Facilitate Positive Social Experiences Help your children to choose friends and hobbies that make them feel good about themselves. If you notice that certain relationships or activities cause unhealthy conflict or bad feelings, talk about ways to improve things move away from the negative situation. Guide your children in finding friends and interests in varied settings so that they do not rely on only one place as their social outlet. Help your children to stay bonded to at least one close friend—feeling socially connected can help to mitigate the effects of bullying.
4. Promote Responsible Online Behavior Talk with your children about ethical online behavior, including respect for privacy and the impact of denigrating others. Make sure that they understand how to protect their own privacy online (e.g., keep personal information, passwords and PINs confidential) and how to respond when targeted by negative online behavior (see Prevention Tip #6). Help your children to set healthy limits on the amount of time spent online and actively supervise online activities. If you use filtering and monitoring software, be open about it and don’t rely on these tools as a substitute for direct participation in their online lives.
(courtesy of www.adl.org/combatbullying)