October is national bullying prevention month, which means it is time to address the issuse of bullying because of the negative impact it can have on a child.
KEDM’s Taylor Costa spoke with Tammy Washington, early childhood life skills coordinator at the Children's Coalition for Northeast Louisiana, about the issue and why it is crucial to have the talk about bullying with your children.
On what to tell children about bullying
Bullying is real, and it’s really a process of teaching children how to build their character and teaching parents on how to have a conversation. So, it’s a community effort and spans from the classroom into the home and basically you help that child understand what their strengths are, how to build relationships with their peers and to understand that when something happens or when they are being bullied, to not to be afraid to report it and have that conversation with a trusted adult.
On what parents can do to prevent bullying
It is very preventable, but sometimes bullying stems from situations that are taking place within the home. Sometimes children are picking up their aggression and their behaviors from their parents, and parents need to be aware of that. So, it is preventable, but if the parent chooses to have that conversation and talk to their child about how to treat others knowing that they don't want to be treated in a negative way, then we definitely can prevent it. Children need to learn how to build a relationship and how to treat one another. We have to continue to teach our children social-emotional developmental skills.
On the signs your child may be being bullied
It will affect their grades nine times out of 10. The child can be withdrawn or really fidgety. There are a lot of different signs that a parent can pay attention to, and if you know your child and your child’s habits and behavior, you can tell when something different is going on. It’s not always necessarily bullying, but if you have that open conversation with your child where they are comfortable with talking to you about anything, then they will be open to tell you.
On why it is important to have the talk about bullying
It is very important for parents to talk to children about bullying because children respond to stressful situations in such a negative way, and if we continue to close our eyes, pretend it isn’t happening or telling them to be strong, then we are creating a catastrophe. It can be really bad. Their grades can fall. They can start treating others wrong, and children will turn to other coping mechanisms. One huge factor is we don’t want any child to feel like they need to take their life or that their life isn’t valuable because of what someone else is doing.