By Victoria Vanderstoep (Student Communicative Disorders Assistant, Durham College)
It is not uncommon to hear that bullying is a big problem in schools, workplaces, homes and especially on the Internet nowadays. Bullying, in any form, can be detrimental to a child’s well-being and self-confidence.
When I was younger, I remember chanting the nursery rhyme ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’. But that nursery rhyme has it all wrong, words can really hurt. As technology continues to advance cyber-bullying is on the rise, people are using language to taunt, demoralize and torture their peers behind the anonymity of a computer screen.
Unfortunately, the reality of this bullying epidemic is that kids who are shy, timid and appearing nervous or withdrawn, and who present poor social communication skills are often the target of bullies. As caregivers and adults we need to have the important conversations on the power of language with the children in our lives.
There is an excellent resource available to parents called ‘Don’t Pick On Me‘ by Susan Eikov Green. This book has 37 simple, fun activities to teach kids how to deal with teasing, name calling and cyber bullying, cope with feelings of being left out and to get help when necessary.
These activities are intertwined with discussions of the various types of bullying and strategies to cope with or counteract them in nonaggressive ways. The activities are possible real-life examples and scenarios that kids can think through and apply strategies to. There is opportunity for reflective thinking based on past experiences, as well as ideas for how children can make themselves feel better by focusing on the positives rather than the negatives. This book is an instant help resource that can be used to avoid bullying or to help give your children a voice if they are already being bullied.
Yesterday was (February 25, 2015) was Pink Shirt Day, a day where society comes together to show that we will not tolerate bullying anywhere. Let’s stand together to give our kids a voice and help put an end to bullying.