Some parents are unsure where to begin to help protect their children from bullying and violence. Others may not know if their children are victims, bystanders or even perpetrators of harmful behaviours. Here are some tips on how to start a conversation with your children:
How can I help prevent bullying in my child’s school?
The first step to keeping your child safe, whether in-person or online, is making sure they know the issue.
- Educate your children about bullying. Once they know what bullying is, your children will be able to identify it more easily, whether it is happening to them or someone else.
- Talk openly and frequently to your children. The more you talk to your children about bullying, the more comfortable they will be telling you if they see or experience it. Check in with your children daily and ask about their time at school and their activities online, inquiring not only about their classes and activities, but also about their feelings.
- Help your child be a positive role model. There are three parties to bullying: the victim, the perpetrator, and the bystander. Even if children are not victims of bullying, they can prevent bullying by being inclusive, respectful and kind to their peers. If they witness bullying, they can stick up for the victim, offer support, and/or question bullying behaviours.
- Help build your child’s self confidence. Encourage your child to enrol in classes or join activities they love in your community. This will also help build confidence as well as a group of friends with shared interests.
- Be a role model. Show your child how to treat other children and adults with kindness and respect by doing the same to the people around you, including speaking up when others are being mistreated. Children look to their parents as examples of how to behave, including what to post online.
- Be part of their online experience. Familiarise yourself with the platforms your child uses, explain to your child how the online and the offline world are connected, and warn them about the different risks they’ll face online.