Pink Shirt Day is Coming Up: How Parents Can Help Stop Bullying Behaviour

psd4by Shawn Burgess
Community Director, Weston-Mount Dennis and Lawrence Heights

“Children who bully are learning to use power and aggression to control and distress others.”*

“Children who are victimized become increasingly powerless and find themselves trapped in relationships in which they are being abused.”*

*From Prevnet.ca, Canada’s leading authority on bullying.

Pink Shirt DayIn our children’s programs at St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club, we do our best to stop bullying before it happens, or, as it occurs.   We implement the topic of bullying into regular topics of discussion – including, what kids can do if they find themselves being bullied, how to stand up for others, and how to have empathy for other children. Unfortunately, bullying behaviour can sometimes be subtle and hidden from adults.   Confiding in a parent can often be the first time that this aggressive behaviour is detected.

Tips for parents

Parents can play a central role to preventing bullying and stopping it when it happens. Bullying is a secretive behaviour and is usually hidden from adults.  Here are a few things you can do to help

  • Teach kids/youth to solve problems without using violence and praise them when they do.
  • Give children positive feedback when they behave well to help build self-esteem. Help give them the self-confidence to stand up for what they believe in.
  • Ask your children about their day and listen to them talk about school, social events, their classmates, and any problems they have.  Remember, kids might not identify a problem as “bullying” so they might use different language to talk about what is going on.
  • Pink Shirt DayTake bullying seriously. Many kids are embarrassed to say they have been bullied. You may only have one chance to step in and help.
  • If you see any bullying, stop it right away, especially if your child is the one doing the bullying.
  • Encourage your child/youth to help others who need it.
  • Don’t bully your children or bully others in front of them. Many times kids who are bullied at home react by bullying other kids. If your children see you hit, ridicule, or gossip about someone else, they are also more likely to do so themselves.
  • Support bully prevention programs in your child’s school. If your school doesn’t have one, consider starting one with other parents, teachers, and concerned adults.

Tips to share with your child/youth who are bullied

  1. If it’s hard for you to stand up for yourself, ignore the bully and walk away…… then tell someone who can help.
  2. Talk to some who can help, like a recreation staff, parent, teacher or coach.
  3. If the first adult you speak to doesn’t help, tell another adult until someone listens.
  4. If you’re scared to talk to an adult on your own ask a friend to go with you.
  5. Go to areas where you feel safe.
  6. Stay close to kids you can count on to stick up for you.
  7. Look confident and tell the child who bullies to back off …bullying is not COOL!
  8. Stay calm….try not to show you’re bothered.
  9. Get funny…. Humour shows you’re not bothered.
  10. Be assertive, not aggressive…fighting back often makes the bullying worse.
  11. Remember that you didn’t do anything wrong – no one deserves to be bullied.

For more information check out www.prevent.ca

Many people feel that bullying is “just kids being kids” and that it’s” harmless.” In fact, bullying is anything but harmless!

We’ll all be wearing pink shirts on February 25th, to show that we take a stand against bullying. Please join us in recognizing Pink Shirt Day by wearing a pink shirt and talking to your kids about bullying.

Pink Shirt dayWe have some St. Alban’s anti-bullying pink shirts available for sale – in children’s sizes small, medium and large, and adult size small.   $15 each – and available at the front desk.

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