Anti-Bullying Action Steps for Parents
Recent research on bullying and resilience says that “warm family relationships and positive home environments help to buffer children from the negative outcomes associated with bullying victimization.” 1
It’s true. Parents create the foundation from which resilience is built, and they are integral to the development of children. As parents, we are the first role models for our children, and we influence them with every move, every word, and every look. While this can seem overwhelming, intentional parenting is imperative to raising resilient, healthy, and well-adjusted kids and future adults. With this in mind, we developed the following action steps for parents. These steps are based on Developmental Assets research, the qualities and external factors that we know kids need to be successful.
- Be a Good Role Model – No parent is perfect, but it’s important for every parent to recognize and remember that your kids are always watching you! Be sure that you behave in ways that you would like to see replicated.
- Create a Supportive Family Environment – All families are different, so there is no cookie-cutter approach to this action step. Your family’s culture is defined by all members of your family. In a supportive family culture, parents to frequently interact with their children. Get to know your kids, find out what they love, and then support those passions.
- Engage in Positive Family Communication – Communication seems to be the hardest thing for all of us to do. With our children, we need to be sure that what we say is what we mean, and that they do not have to read into situations. How we teach them to communicate in our homes will then carry over into how they communicate at school and with their friends. In the same way, the ways that they communicate with their friends may seep into their communications with us. It’s a parents job to ensure that their communication remains positive! Finally, listen to what your child is saying. Sometimes the things that they don’t say are even more important than the things they do say. Be sure to clue in if your child seems to feel unsafe in a situation and pursue that in conversation.
- Promote Positive Relationships with Other Adults – We are not meant to raise children without some help. We need to help our children connect with other positive adults who can mentor them and assist them as they grow up. See Anti-Bullying Action Steps for Other Caring Adults >>
- Be Involved in Your Child’s Schooling – Research shows that children are more successful when parents are involved in their school. Attend school conferences, know your child’s teacher, and volunteer in any way that you can. If you make an effort to establish a relationship with your child’s teacher or school administrator, it will also be a huge help if the need arises for you to have a hard discussion.
- Encourage School and Community Involvement – The more involved that kids are with others and with organizations, the better off they are, whether it’s at church or at your local community center. Encourage inter-generational events whenever possible. Whatever they do, support their involvement in healthy activities because it will continue to make them healthier in the long run.
- Provide Clear Boundaries and Safety – Children need clear guidelines to follow as they grow up, and they need to feel safe. Parents need to set clear boundaries for behavior and should have high expectations in terms of respect for self, others, and property.
- Have High Expectations for Academics and Behavior – Not every students is a straight A student, but having high expectations that kids do their best on every project, worksheet, or test is important. Kids should do their best, and they should seek out learning. Kids will raise their own expectations to meet ours as parents, so we should aim high in academics and behavior.
- Promote Positive Values- Children do not naturally look out for others or show restraint; we need to teach them these qualities. While helping our children become caring, honest, responsible, and self-controlled beings is difficult, these are some of the qualities that will make them the healthiest as teens and adults. Watch for experiences when you can teach and promote these values – it will benefit them in the long run!
- Help Kids Dream about Their Futures – One of the first things that we ask little kids is, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” And the question is asked over and over again. When your kids answer with big dreams, support them! Network with people in those fields through community, school, and religious organizations, and help them to seek out ways to make those dreams possible. As they grow older, encourage them to take classes in school that will keep their options open. Assist them in pursuing those big dreams by believing in them!
Bowes, L., Maughan, B., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., & Arseneault, L. (2010). Families promote emotional and behavioural resilience to bullying: Evidence of an environmental effect. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 51 (7), 809–817.
- Alcohol Use
- Drug Use
- Depression and Suicide
- Tobacco Use
- Bullying and Cyberbullying
- Early Sexual Activity
- Eating Disorders