Discussion: What Can Parents do to Prevent Bullying and Cyberbullying?
Weigh in on this week's topic in the comments section below.
Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council will take your questions, give advice and share solutions on parenting topics. And we want all of you moms, dads, grandparents and families to join the discussion too.
Moms Talk will be the place to drop in to hear what your neighbors think about the latest parenting topics, or to find resources or ask a question. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation today.
Today's Discussion Topic: What Can Parents do to Prevent Bullying and Cyberbullying?
This topic has been one that's been explored in forums and lectures in Lexington (there's another one, coming up on March 22 at Minuteman Career & Technical High School), and appears to be something residents are determined to combat.
What is the best way to prevent bullying and cyberbullying? When and how do you bring up the conversation with your child? How soon should the topic be broached with students? Has your child experienced bullying, and if so, what was your response? Is the problem addressed adequately in the schools?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Moms Council Member Audra Myerberg Weighs In:
Believe it or not, this is a subject I am already discussing with my 5-year-old daughter who attends pre-kindergarten at a small private school. In my case, I am starting with the basics that may lead to larger-scale bullying such as whispering, telling secrets, inappropriate touching, using degrading words, etc.
She has older kids in her classroom at the end of her school day as part of an after school program, so she is being exposed to their elementary school world. We have already addressed the whispering and secret telling and why it may upset someone else.
My best techniques at this stage of the game is having conversations with my daughter while riding in the car, taking a walk or just hanging out at the art desk and bring up these topics. We have also done some roll playing which she likes and understands well. I have my daughter actually say in a strong voice, “No, do not do that,” or, “Please stop, you’re hurting me.”
I remind her that her teachers are there to help and that she can go to them. Anytime the opportunity presents itself, I use it as a teaching moment. I have also kept up with the anti-bullying programs in the public schools, followed leading experts (I found Queen Bee and the Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman very helpful and www.bullybust.org) and kept communications open with both kids about respecting themselves and others. I know they are modeling my behavior so I make it a point to show respect to everyone and talk out situations where someone was inconsiderate to me.
As far as cyberbullying is concerned, I feel strongly that we will not have computers (or other Internet availability) in the kids' rooms. They will use our computers in our living area where we can monitor use. When it comes time for my kids to have a cell phone, it will be without the Internet/e-mail until they are much older and can fully understand cyberbullying. Admittedly, since my kids are so young, this is an area I will need to continue to follow as my kids get older.
I am encouraged with the school anti-bullying campaigns and the media push, but feel that it really needs to start at home with parents teaching what is appropriate behavior, what are acceptable ways to communicate and that it is ok and safe to say when you don’t like a certain behavior. I hope I am able to give my kids the tools they need to stand up to bullying and help someone else out who may be in trouble.