National Bullying Prevention Month is a nationwide campaign founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. The campaign is held during the month of October and unites communities around the world to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention. This campaign has grown from an initial week-long event to a worldwide effort with thousands of individuals participating in multiple activities throughout October. Hundreds of schools, major corporations, and many celebrities have joined the movement. Take action and show that you care about kids being safe at school, while online, and in the community.
Bullying has unfortunately become a common occurrence in the lives of young people. More than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
The good news is that because bullying has made national headlines, schools and communities (and even celebrities) are taking a strong stand against bullying. You can do your part at home, too.
Here are 5 smart strategies to keep kids from becoming targets — and stop bullying that has already started:
- Talk about it. Talk about bullying with your kids and have other family members share their experiences. If one of your kids opens up about being bullied, praise him or her for being brave enough to discuss it and offer unconditional support. Consult with the school to learn its policies and find out how staff and teachers can address the situation.
- Remove the bait. If it’s lunch money or gadgets that the school bully is after, you can help neutralize the situation by encouraging your child to pack a lunch or go to school gadget-free.
- Buddy up for safety. Two or more friends standing at their lockers are less likely to be picked on than a child who is all alone. Remind your child to use the buddy system when on the school bus, in the bathroom, or wherever bullies may lurk.
- Keep calm and carry on. If a bully strikes, a kid’s best defense may be to remain calm, ignore hurtful remarks, tell the bully to stop, and simply walk away. Bullies thrive on hurting others. A child who isn’t easily ruffled has a better chance of staying off a bully’s radar.
- Don’t try to fight the battle yourself. Sometimes talking to a bully’s parents can be constructive, but it’s generally best to do so in a setting where a school official, such as a counselor, can mediate. Taken from kidshealth.org.
The YMCA offers a safe haven for the community, with no tolerance for bullying in any of our facilities or programs. Having a place where kids feel they belong fosters greater inclusion and empathy among children and their peers, and thereby modeling the Y’s core values – caring, honesty, respect and responsibility – in the way you interact with and talk about others. Social exclusion can prevent children from building the confidence and relationships they need to reach their fullest potential. View more information on our Teen Programs here.