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Bullying Responsibilities of Parents It's pretty wild how it's thought that bullying is a serious issue but so little is done about it or really understood. Luckily there are some good books and programs out there but with bullying behavior present in the majority of people's lives, how many of them are utilizing these resources? 5%!?! That's my estimated number because if you ask 100 people who experience controlling acts from others, maaaaybe 5 would say they have read or learned how to rid it from their life and did just that. Here, I will share a view and some ideas that will help parents protect their children from bullying starting today. This article is also about sending young adults into the world without being so influenced by rude people. Bullying is attempting to control others using negativity and force. Trying to negatively control someone’s mood, body, or attitudes with intimidating actions. Only ○ parents ○ family members who have permission from the parents ○ and leaders with the same permission, should be attempting to guild a child and only if they do it positively! If a person is not on that list, they are examples only and children need to know the difference and to eventually understand that they can choose to copy them or not. Controlling behaviors: ▪ Attacking character by name calling ▪ Telling someone they are wrong ▪ Sarcasm ▪ Rude and intimidating body language ▪ Yelling ▪ Touching out of anger ▪ Gossiping ▪ Encouraged laziness ▪ Complaining ▪ Not including others ▪ Laughing / snickering Once it is clear that it is a choice to follow a positive or negative example, bullying isn't such a damaging issue. We won't do it to anyone and we will just think of a bully as someone who just chooses to be mean. We can still treat them like anyone else, with respect. The skills to not be adult bullied will come much easier for them in time with this mindset! It boils down to the examples we have in life. Everyone we observe are examples. Parents are in the best position to help their children decide if an observed example (person) is worth copying or not and why. Every "example" can be a great reason to start a nurturing discussion with them while showing them how to talk about others without harsh, judging words and thoughts. We can't just keep kids away from bad examples who bully. Sometimes, one or more may live under the same roof. Schools tend to have them from classmates to faculty. Public places and social gatherings with friends or family are unavoidable and that's a good thing. Again, a perfect chance to guide the young minds with compassionate conversation about their powers to choose who to copy! Bullies aren't born, they copy other bullies before them. A protection tool parents have is that they can limit, or expose more of, the examples they wish to be around their kids. 9 simple protection and prevention tips that parents can implement now: • Recognize bullying. The controlling behaviors. (See above list) • Keep the 5 best local examples in the child's life around them regularly. • Keep the 5 worst away or out of earshot when possible. • When an example of bullying (negative control attempting) occurs, discuss the action and ask the child if they wish to copy it. • When a great example is witnessed, discuss the action and ask if that's something for them to copy. • Have fun role playing. Good and bad behaviors. Bully and victim. Bully and the kid who knows that some people just haven't decided or learned to be nice yet. Make it fun means make it stick! • Teach verbal and physical self-defense to them and if that is outside of a skill set, enroll them in a quality Martial Arts school that does know how to teach it. • EVERY TIME a child demonstrates controlling behavior (again, refer to the list above) to a parent or sibling, don't let it go without a discussion about love and respect for others. End with them demonstrating a kind way to deal with whatever brought them to bully. ▪ Create a fun challenge for the kids to recognize behaviors from "the list" and bring it to attention. It's great when a parent gets called out respectfully. It helps a child learn that it's a choice to copy it or not and it makes parents become more aware of the example they are setting. After all, the majority of bullies learned their techniques from home. Now, an alternative to these actions would be to not take any action. If parents are too busy to have these pop up discussions, or too tired to teach choice of who and what is worth copying in this life, then they may want to expect to have bullies for kids and/or easy victims for kids. It comes down to priorities, like anything. Parents have the most challenging yet important role life has to offer. The responsibility of example setting comes with the package of having kids. If this challenge isn't taken seriously, bad things will happen. Bullying isn't what I typically like to write about. Unfortunately, I've been around way too many kids that have no idea about any of this and suffered because of it. I felt I needed to share a little in case it helps even one family. I've enjoyed helping kids with this all these years but I'm just 1 of the good examples for parents to bring their kids around (hopefully in the top 5, like mentioned above). I have to be careful though, I can't help a child in some cases. I'm not going to tell a child, "Do not follow your mothers example, she is bullying you by yelling insults with that aggressive face and grab of your arm, and you don't ever have to copy that if you don't like it!". ;)

Respectfully, Derrick Maretti

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