Anti-Bullying Action Steps for Caring Community Members

Recent research on resilience and bullying supports the idea that communities are an important part of the collaborative effort against bullying. “The key is to strive toward working collaboratively to build the capacity of everyone to nurture the development of youth resiliency.” 1

We all play a role in the raising of our nation’s youth! With this in mind, we’ve created the following anti-bullying tips for caring community members based on the Developmental Assets research, the qualities and external factors that we know kids need to be successful.

  • Be Open to Mentoring Relationships with Youth- Research asserts that youth need three caring adults to provide support for them. This could be in your neighborhood, or through formal mentoring programs like Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
  • Create Opportunities for Youth to Engage with Community – Involve youth in neighborhood clean-up days, allow them to be on club committees, or seek out a group of youth to perform at a function in a community center. The more connected and important that youth feel to their community, the more successful they are in the future.
  • Take an Interest in Neighborhood Youth – Build relationships with your neighbors and your neighbor’s kids. Be on the watch for ways to have positive interactions with neighborhood youth. If you have young children, try to connect them with the neighborhood kids and get involved in their lives by providing a safe and supervised place for them to play.
  • Promote Peaceful Conflict Resolution – How we act in front of kids – whether in the grocery store or on the street – is teaching them something. Be sure that what you are teaching is what you want them to learn. Model good communication and peaceful, non-violent conflict resolution.
  • Provide Cross-Cultural Experiences for Youth – Promote the cross-cultural events that allow others to attend. Take a neighbor’s kid to the Chinese New Year celebration at the library. Become involved in your own cultural heritage and promote it with youth in your community. These experiences will not only be fun but will enhance the kids’ knowledge, tolerance, and acceptance of other cultures.
  • Promote Youth Having a Sense of Purpose – Adults in the community have a great deal of power toward shaping youth. Just looking kids in the eye when you see them on the street helps them know that they are seen. Look for ways to enhance their sense of purpose. This will help them build resilience. Express your appreciation when they have contributed to the community in a meaningful way and look for other opportunities to have them contribute in the future.
  • Provide Safety in the Community – Adults in the community can promote a safe environment by being a part of neighborhood watch groups, knowing who should be (or should not be) in a neighborhood, and watching out for each other’s children.
  • Have High Expectations for Behavior – While it can be awkward to correct another parent’s child, it can also be helpful. Build rapport with the families around you or with youth in your community. Model good behavior in your own life, and then expect positive behavior from the youth in your community. Many parents will appreciate the support of community members in this area.
  • Promote Positive Values – Children are not born with positive values; they have to learn them, and they do so by watching others in their behavior. Model integrity, honesty, responsibility, and restraint, and then promote those values with the youth in your community. Be caring in your interactions with them, and treat them the way you want them to treat you.
  • Help Youth to Dream about Their Futures – Community members can play an important role as youth explore what their futures will hold. If you are employed, find out if there are opportunities at your place of employment for job-shadowing. Be in conversation with youth about what you do, why you chose that career, and what skills they may be learning in school that could apply to what you do. Consider contributing to a scholarship fund or be creative in other ways to help disadvantaged youth in your community to follow their dreams.

Download these tips (PDF).

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1. Donnon, T., & Hammond, W. (2007). Understanding the relationship between resiliency and bullying in adolescence: An assessment of youth resiliency from five urban high schools. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 16, 449–471. doi:10.1016/j.chc.2006.11.007