Bullying is a serious issue that affects many children and can have long-term consequences on their mental health and well-being. In addtion, according to a recent study, more than one in four students in the U.S. have experienced this. And over 70% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools. But there is hope – research has shown that when bystanders intervene. As a result, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time. Here are five ways you can teach your child to be an upstander:
- Teach Empathy: Empathy is a critical component of being an upstander. Encouraging your child to imagine how the person being bullied feels is important. And recognizing that everyone deserves kindness and respect.
- Practice Positive Bystander Behavior: Help your child identify positive bystander behavior. When your child see someone bullying others, encourage them to speak up or to get help from a trusted adult. Role-play different scenarios with your child so they feel more confident and prepared to intervene.
- Emphasize the Power of Inclusion: Teach your child that inclusivity is a powerful way to combat bullying. Encouraging them to include others who may be left out and to stand up for those who are being bullied or excluded is important.
- Foster a Safe Environment: Make sure your child knows that it’s important to tell a trusted adult about bullying they see or experience. And encourage your child’s school to implement anti-bullying policies and training for staff and students.
- Lead by Example Model the behavior you want to see in your child. Moreover, be kind and respectful to others, and speak up when you see bullying or exclusion happening in your own community.
Also, some upstander behavior are present in schools across the country. For example, a group of middle school students in California started the “Sit With Us” campaign. The campaign encourages students to sit with new people at lunch. In Minnesota, a high school student started a “Compliment Club,”. Where students write anonymous compliments to each other and stick them on lockers to spread positivity.
In other words, by teaching your child to be an upstander, you can help create a more inclusive. And accepting environment in your community. And empower them to stand up for themselves and others.
Remember, if you or your child is experiencing bullying check out resources like PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center (https://www.pacer.org/bullying/) and StopBullying.gov (https://www.stopbullying.gov/) for information, support, and strategies to create safer communities for everyone.