You may have had the sex talk. You may have had the drug talk. But have you had the bully talk? Unfortunately, bullying has become so rampant that it is now normal. When I speak to teen groups I have trouble getting them to see that backstabbing your best friend, worrying about your social status and checking your tagged photos on Facebook for photoshopped ones is NOT normal. It is really important for parents to have ‘the bully talk.’ With their kids along with the sex, drug and money talk.
When to Have the Bully Talk?
The earlier the better! As soon as your child begins to have friends, they should have the bully talk. This is also a discussion you can have many times as they get older, incorporating new issues as they arrive. For example, discussing Club Penguin at eight and Facebook at thirteen.
How to Have the Bully Talk?
You can absolutely sit down without any distractions to discuss the ideas below. You can also use media and commercials to start the conversation. If you see bullying in a movie or show, use it as a time to talk. Ask your child what they would do in the same situation? Do they think what characters did was right or wrong? These are issues they can think about with you, so when it comes up in real life they can remember what they said.
What to Say In The Bully Talk?
Here are a few ideas for your talk. Remember you want to be honest and heartfelt as it can be a touchy issue if your child has already been bullied, is a bully or has a sibling or friend who has experienced bullying.
- Remember bullying can also be online or through phones. Explain the difference between cyberbullying and real life bullying.
- Ask them what they already know. They might already have an experience with a bully that you can talk about and work through.
- Play some scenarios. Have them talk through with you things that might come up.
- Use TV shows or movies as examples. Watch some movies together and ask them what they would do in the same situations.
- Go through: Stop, Save, Tell. This is online or offline. If they ever feel uncomfortable they should stop the action (or any back and forth with a bully), save any evidence and tell someone. Go through appropriate people–you, a teacher or counselor.
- Do not leave out the possibility that they are a bully. Often times victims can be bullies at the same time to someone else. Or in a particularly bad friendship, the victim/bully roll switches. Talk to them about how they feel when they are mean to someone.
- Share your own experiences so they are not ashamed.
Most of all leave the conversation open for them to come back to you if they need. Bullying mayb not be an issue now, but can get triggered in new camps, new schools or different social scenarios both online and offline.