Did you know that bullying can start as early as preschool? D’oh! As if maintaining a three-foot-high beehive hairstyle or avoiding nuclear contamination at work every day didn’t give you enough to worry about, right?
Even if you haven’t yet had to deal with your kids getting picked on (or picking on someone else for that matter), it’s a good idea to brush up on your bullying knowledge now. That’s why The Doctor and The Dad have teamed up with The Simpsons to bring you some useful bullying DOs and DON’Ts.
DO help your kids make friends by encouraging collaborative activities and hosting playdates outside of school.
Safety in numbers definitely applies to bullying, as kids without friends are the most likely to be targeted. Even just having one friend can help.
DON’T help your kids make friends using meat.
DO talk about bullying.
Often bullies are the “cool kids” in school. But make sure your kids know that bulling is not cool with you by having open, honest conversations about it. Make talking about friendships, including good and bad ways to conduct them, a part of your everyday conversations.
DON’T talk about bullying like this:
DO prepare your kids.
Teach them how to identify a bullying situation and encourage them to tell an adult when they see one.
DON’T prepare your kids by instructing them to amass a schoolyard army to forcibly bring bullies down.
DO help your child develop good problem resolution skills.
Use everyday conflicts like routine spats over toys as opportunities. Rather than jumping in to immediately fix the problem yourself, get the kids involved in the conflict to help generate solutions. Using small problems as learning experiences can give your children the tools they need when bigger conflicts arise.
DON’T encourage your kids to fight dirty.
DO model good behavior.
Make sure your kids have a lot of experience with positive relationships by being a good role model yourself. This can be particularly important for preventing your kids from becoming bullies.
DON’T model bad behavior.
DO check in with your children’s teachers about what’s been happening on the playground.
In school, your kids choose their own friends and navigate play cliques without your supervision. So it’s a good idea to frequently check in with teachers and administrators to stay updated on who they’re hanging out with and whether there have been any problems. This can raise awareness for both you and the teachers, helping you work as a team to promote your kids’ success.
DON’T let schoolyard bullying go unnoticed.
DO be aware of online bullying dangers.
If your kids are only in preschool, they might not be perusing the internet on their own yet. But they will be soon. So keep in mind that these days bullying isn’t confined to the playground. Cyber-bullying is increasingly common and creates many of the same negative consequences for victims as the traditional kind, like depression, anxiety and even physical symptoms like headaches and illnesses.
DON’T just learn the term “cyber-bullying” and think that’s enough.
So there you have it! If there are any amazing Simpsons bullying clips we missed, post them in the comments below.
Otherwise, congratulate yourself for reading this article, then go have some ice cream and a brownie to celebrate. Mmmmm…ice cream and a brownie.