← Go back Raising an Advocate and Not a Bully
Published on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 by

In recent years, the topic of bullying has hit headlines worldwide. Bullying comes in many different forms and can be found in schools; on playgrounds; on the Internet and in the workplace.

To tackle this growing issue, our society focuses on what to do when your child is being bullied, yet we fail to recognize how we can stop this serious pattern. Your child will either be: a bully; someone who is bullied or, someone who stands against bullying.

Bullying cannot be prevented, but we can give our children tools to become individuals who are empathetic, open minded and caring towards others.

Here are five strategies to raise considerate and caring children:

Make Caring for Others a Priority
Children need to learn to balance their needs with the needs of others. This can be demonstrated by passing a ball to a teammate or deciding to stand up for a friend who is being bullied. Your child needs to hear from you that caring for others is a top priority.

As parents, caregivers and educators, we must hold children to a high-ethical standards such as honoring his/her commitments. At times, this may mean a little bit of personal sacrifice. Most parents will say to their children, “The most important thing is that you’re happy.” Instead, let’s start saying “The most important thing is that you are kind to yourself and others.”

Instill an Attitude of Gratitude
All too often we say to ourselves, “I’m just one person, what difference can I make?” There is a common notion that if we can’t do something big, we don’t do anything at all.

We need to change this train of thought for ourselves and for our children. Every little contribution makes a big difference. It’s never too late to become a good person, but it won’t happen on its own. Children, like the rest of us, need practice.

 A chore, such as setting or clearing the table, is a simple way to contribute to the family dinner. Rather than donating your child’s toys without his/her knowledge to avoid a fuss, involve him/her in the giving process.

This is a great learning opportunity to give to the less fortunate. The reward for being kind should be an intrinsic satisfaction of being a good person and should not be a monetary or materialistic reward.

Caring and gratitude go hand in hand. “Waste not, want not” is a phrase we all know, but fail to remember. Teaching children to appreciate what they have and understanding how they got it, is very important.

Expand your Child’s Circle of Concern
Children tend to care about their small circle of family and friends. It is our job to help them learn to care about someone outside that circle, such as the new student in their class; someone who doesn’t speak their language or someone who is less fortunate.

Expanding a child’s circle is exposing them to people who live in very different cultures in the world and in their own community. Teach your child about diversity. For example, if there is a new student in your child’s class who is hearing- impaired, help your child learn some sign language so they can communicate with that student and make him or her feel welcome.

Be a Strong Moral Role Model and Mentor
Children learn ethical values by watching the actions of adults they respect. Being a moral role model and mentor means that we need to practice honesty, fairness and caring ourselves.

But it doesn’t mean being perfect all the time. For our children to respect and trust us, we need to acknowledge our mistakes and flaws. We also need to respect children’s thinking and listen to their perspectives, demonstrating to them how we want them to engage others. You can model caring for others by contributing to the community regularly with your child.

Guide Children in Managing Destructive Feelings
A simple way to teach your child to calm down: ask your child to stop, take a deep breath through the nose, exhale through the mouth and count to five. We can only make wise decisions that are helpful when we are calm. Practice this strategy when your child is calm. Then, when you see your child getting upset, remind him/her about the steps and do them together. There should be a rational conversation after. Ultimately, our children will be able to have this internal dialogue when we aren’t there to guide them. After a while, your child will start to do it on his/her own.

Your role as a parent is the best chance your child has to survive bullying. You are your child’s role model, mentor and educator. It starts at home. They are watching and listening, so make them feel safe and loved.

Listen to your words and stop yourself from saying, “If you don’t put on your jacket, mummy is leaving without you.” Or “Daddy will love you forever, if you eat all of your lunch.”

Raise your children to be confident, to know that they are loved and to show love. And teach them to make decisions considering the needs of others.

Natacha V. Beim, Founder of Core Education and Fine Arts, lives in Vancouver  with her husband and two sons. She tapped into her unique perspective when creating the all-day early learning program at CEFA, designed for infants and children up to five years old. 

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