The 19th of March marks an opportunity to stop, think and reflect on bullying and the impact it can have on young people. This year’s theme is “Kindness Culture” which aims to promote “inclusiveness, respect, and a sense of belonging”, in order to proactively prevent bullying behaviour.
Like many things, bullying can come in different shapes and sizes. Linked below are some user friendly bullying resources for young people and their parents:
https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/issues/bullying: Kids Helpline Guide to Bullying – Outlines the different forms, their impact and strategies to deal with bullying.
https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/resources/classroom-resources: The government’s “Bullying. No Way” initiative provides a range of short video clips that outline different cyberbullying scenarios and appropriate courses of action.
Tips for supporting a young person who is experiencing bullying:
- Validate their experience e.g., “That sounds really hurtful”, “I can see why that was upsetting for you”.
- Try not to minimise their experience e.g., “I’m sure it was a one off, they probably didn’t mean it”.
- Empower them to identify what’s wrong with the situation. Collaboratively talk about the behaviour and whether they have been treated appropriately.
- Encourage them to surround themselves with people who build their self-esteem. This may be through after school activities or play dates.
- Encourage them to stand up for themselves using assertive (e.g., “I feel”) language rather than aggressive (e.g., “You did”) language, to educate others about the impact of their actions and behaviours.
- Take necessary steps to support and protect your child from further harm e.g., contacting the school, providing psychoeducation to parents and teachers, blocking bullies on social media, seeking external support etc.
By educating ourselves, our children and others on bullying behaviour and its impact, we too can contribute towards building “kindness culture”. All individuals deserve to feel respected and accepted among their peers and within the community.