POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 119 TALKING TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT BULLYING Tips for Parents of Victims and Bullies: If you think your child is a victim... * Talk about it. Encourage your child to talk about school and friends. Keep the lines of communication open so they feel they can talk to you about what's going on. * Build Their Confidence. Work deliberately to build your child's confidence. Remind them about what they do well and that they are good people who deserve to be treated with respect. * Try Something New. Trying new things can help to build childrenÕs selfesteem. Encourage your children to try something new, whether it be playing an instrument or playing team sports, which can help to build their social skills as well. * Avoid Overprotection. Rather than sheltering your children from difficult situations, give them the skills to deal with them on their own. * Teach Assertiveness. Encourage assertive, but not aggressive, behaviour so your children can stand up for themselves. Remind them that a bully only has power if it's given to them. * Encourage Socializing. Bullies target shy, introverted children. Encourage your children to try and develop new friendships and to surround themselves with friends. * Kids Help Phone is There. Sometimes, as much as we would like to talk to our children, they're just not comfortable talking to us. Remind your children that if they need someone to talk to, Kids Help Phone is there to listen at 1-800-668-6868. If you think your child is a bully... * Stay Calm. Now, more than ever, it's important to model good listening and problem solving skills. Don't deny the fact that your child is a bully or take it personally, but begin immediately trying to rectify the situation. * Be Clear. Explain that any type of bullying or any mistreatment of another human being is absolutely unacceptable, whether it be at home, school or play. * Explain Sticks and Stones. Explain that teasing and name-calling is just as bad as hitting and kicking. In the cases of emotional bullying, they might not realize the harm they're causing. * Channel Their Energy. Encourage your child to use their energy and express their emotions in constructive ways. For example, team sports and physical activity can be a positive outlet for high- energy children. * Teach Respect for Other's Differences. Prejudice is often the basis for mistreatment of other people. Work with your children to develop a code of mutual respect for all people, regardless of race, religion, background, clothing, or anything at all. * Encourage Empathy. Try and get your children to put themselves in the shoes of the victim. * Set an Example. Let your own actions illustrate how important it is to be kind to other people and how to solve problems in a positive manner. PUT AN END TO BULLYING - TIPS FOR KIDS * Recognize Bullying Bullying comes in many different forms - all equally painful and wrong. Whether it's hitting or pushing; ridiculing or calling names; ignoring or spreading nasty rumours, don't put up with bullying in your school or community. It makes everyone feel bad. * Keep Track of Places Work with friends to take note of places where bullying occurs. Pass this information on to teachers, playground officers, bus drivers, any grown-up - they want to help! * Define Cool Spread the word in your school or community that bullying isn't acceptable. Once the word catches on, it won't be long before everyone realizes that bullying isn't cool. * Speak up! State clearly to the bully that you and your friends won't be involved in any bullying. When someone is bullying someone else, speak up and tell them that bullying is wrong. If it doesn't feel safe, get help. * Help the Victim Make an effort to get to know kids who are picked on. If they seem sad or worried, tell them there is help available - they can tell a parent, teacher, or coach or they can call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868. Ask them to join you. Be sure they're not alone. * Bullies need help too Be firm that bullying is wrong, but don't ever be mean to the bully. Most times, bullies are bullies because they're unhappy inside. Remember - they need help and understanding too. * Walk Away! By standing and watching bullying, you're encouraging it. Walk away as soon as you see something mean, nasty or threatening happening, and then go and get help! * Choose your Friends Wisely Make it clear to your friends that you will not put up with bullying. Refuse to spend time with people who are mean to others. continued... (...Everyday Challenges: Children and Bullying continued)