I don’t know about you, but all of my social media feed have been rather toxic lately. There are full of people fighting bitterly about things. There is bullying happen on all of them, no place is safe. It was getting to the point that I no longer wanted to go on social media, then I started reading about how the bullying had moved from online to real life, following people outside their scope of work to bullying them.
Bullying is rampant in the world today. Its in professional sports, in and outside of workplaces, and of course, all over politically. Adults are ramping it up and its getting worse. It’s everywhere and you can’t escape it.
You know who is really seeing it? Our kids. The very same kids that we spend all of October telling them that Bullying is Bad, they they need to “Just be kind” and send them to assemblies and shows to teach them how to be kinder =, gentler adults. The adults WE are not being.
When my teen mentioned to me that there was a lot of bullying happening in my page, I went to see and I realized she was right. Not only were others being mean and nasty bullies, but I was responding in the same way. I stand up to bullying everywhere, I needed to take a break and make my online spaces reflect that. I changed my wall to be a place where I welcome discussion, even if I disagree. I encourage dialog in a civil manner but will shut people down in a second if they start name calling or bullying. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, they are not entitled to be a jerk on my wall.
How can we expect our kids not to be bullies, when we are?
During the last political campaign and election, many adults voiced very strong opinions about the different candidates. Nearly a year after the election, this continues still today. While we can’t control what comes out of the mouths of public figures and leaders, we should be good role model by not demonstrating bullying behavior ourselves.
Regardless of our opinions of an individual, we should do our best to show kindness. Or, like many of us were taught ourselves as children, “if we can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I’ll be honest, I often find myself biting my tongue, or walking away from my keyboard, but I’m doing it to set a good example for my kids.
Danielle Matthew, author of The Empowered Child: How To Help Your Child Cope, Communicate and Conquer Bullying had some great tools to help kids deal with the bullying that our children are exposed to with lessons of being a positive bystander (don’t go along with the bullying, try to stand up against it), as well as honesty, encouragement and open communication.
I can say that I have found a lot more peace by refusing to allow bullying in my space and I feel good about the role model that I am being to my kids. Showing the behavior that we want kids to follow
is one of the best ways to teach bully prevention. But, let’s face it, we’re
all human, and make mistakes. If you
make as mistake, you should own up to it, then apologies. They know that I don’t always agree with others and their opinions, but they also see that I’m able to share my opinion while NOT being a bully, or allowing others to bully me.