Three tips for parents to help address bullying

By Candace Lamb, Red Cross Blogger

With Red Cross Day of Pink coming up on April 9, it was a perfect opportunity to host a presentation by Canada’s leading authority on bullying in Regina this week. Dr. Wendy Craig (pictured below) is the scientific co-director for PrevNet and spoke to parents about practical things they could do to help address bullying behaviour.
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the event and wanted to share what I learned. Here is my biggest take-away from her talk: bullying is a relationship problem that requires a relationship solution. Healthy relationships are a preventative tool AND help kids deal with bullying when it happens; we all need to DO purposeful things every day to build these. 
Here are a couple of practical tips I walked away with:
Get involved in kids’ lives. Have supper as a family as often as possible. This is the time you really get to know each other. You can model positive, healthy relationships. You can gauge how your kid is doing (does their demeanour change?). This is an opportunity to be aware of how their groups are forming (or crumbling). Educate them about bullying (they won’t learn anything if you ignore the topic). Build their confidence. Be caring. Be supportive. Just talk.
She also suggested making this time device-free for EVERYONE, including parents and guests. Put a bowl out to hold all the devices. GENIUS.
Be a safe place for kids to report problems. This means no freaking out when they tell you something. Think through how to react. Buy yourself some time to calm down if you need to by acknowledging that this is obviously an important topic and that you need some time to think about it. Come up with solutions that they are comfortable with TOGETHER.
It is up to adults to teach kids how to behave. Be a good example. Admit your mistakes and use them as teachable moments. 
If you are interested in learning more, check out this book she co-wrote Bullying Prevention: What Parents Need to Know.
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