Bullying and the Power of WeParent
If you follow our Just One Thing series on Facebook you may have seen us interview Nick Tustin one of the founders of the website WeParent. I really like this site and have used it for support and ideas in parenting our four wild cards – even with 15 years’ experience as a lecturer in personal development I still need ideas and back up when the kids behaviour is challenging or new. WeParent is a wonderful resource full of strategies that are easy to access, helpful and ‘doable’. Nick has very kindly offered for 10 of our lovely readers and followers to win a one year subscription for We Parent – this is a really amazing offer, you can enter by commenting on this blog post with your child/ren’s age and the hardest thing about parenting below:
There are already a number of parenting issues available on the site, and there is always a free strategy each week. We have used the Sibling Rivalry strategies on many occasions lately… However there is also a NEW topic that has recently been added that we wanted to highlight as it’s so very important.
The newly created resources are to support children and adults with the issue of bullying. I wanted to work through this with our kids as it’s such an relevant topic, but also because I don’t feel it is always clear to children what we mean by bullying – they know not to do it, but I’m not sure they always identify the behaviour to stop. Alongside the sibling rivalry we also have to manage how our four kids interact with each other and this is a really great topic to discuss with them all.
I took a look at the resources on WeParent – and this is what I thought…
The Module is called Preventing Bullying and is in four modules, each aimed at supporting children to identify and deal with bullying – and helping parents to manage their own feelings! Having created and taught Assertiveness I felt confident in that module, but there is always more to learn, and I gained great insight in the first module as I have only ever worked with adults (before my own children).
Introduction to the topic and what will be covered etc. I particularly like the age appropriate options as this is essential when working with children.
Teaching your Child About Bullying:
This had lots of useful ways to discuss what bullying is, what behaviours might happen and also what it isn’t. We had a long discussion about banter and teasing and when that could become bullying, it was great that the kids came up with lots of examples themselves of things they have seen at school. We also took time to look at our own behaviour and when we might have behaved in ways that weren’t nice for people around us, even if that wasn’t our intention. It was a topic the kids were happy to discuss.
I liked that at the end of that topic you can choose which one to share next, that flexibility is nice as you can respond more to your own situation.
We chose this next, I feel fairly happy talking about this as it’s one of my favourite ideas to teach – discussing it with children was fascinating! A lot of this module is actually work for the adults to do, and experience tells me that we can all work on our assertiveness skills. Modelling behaviour is such a powerful way to teach children, this is really an essential module for all parents regardless of the topic – it’s a wonderful life skill. The strategy on Decision Making is also excellent, with a solid set of ideas to support children in learning to make ‘good’ decisions and a step by step guide for adults to set things up well so that children have the opportunity to make decisions in ways that you are comfortable with.
The module is well planned and offers lots of information and support.
Positive Sense of Self:
There are 3 strategies for helping children develop a positive self image, and they are all described and clearly explained so that adults can easily start to implement them. The modules all work well together and you can of course go back and re-read or try things again. This is long term strategies for making real change in the behaviour of the whole family, it does need all adults ‘on board’ to be effective, as they will lead by example and reinforce the messages.
If you feel concerned that your child is being bullied, or if they are the bully – there are a number of ways to manage the situation. The first, I think, is to manage your own strong emotions – as parents protecting our children is a fundamental and passionate response and we need to be able to control ourselves when discussing bullying and trying not to judge, but to be open and to listen. So here are some pointers:
- Ask open questions and LISTEN to the answers
- Discuss what bullying is in age appropriate language
- Discuss how it would/does feel to be bullied
- Focus on positive self talk and assertive responses – help children write a list of their qualities
- Model assertive behaviour and language – use ‘I’ statements as much as possible
- Speak to outside people as you feel the need e.g other parents, pre-school, school, health visitors.
I was impressed by the quality of the WeParent strategies, the flexible learning and helpful and practical suggestions. It’s clear that the modules are written by actual parents (lots of well known advice is from people without kids) and although it requires energy and focus, the strategies are easy to follow and it’s great to feel you have something concrete to read and go back to as a parent. I’m really grateful to Nick and the team for letting me take a look at the modules and use the site to see what I thought, and to help me as a parent of four independent children! I have genuinely used the site and often ‘popped in’ for an idea or just to remind myself that these are common issues for kids – mine are quite normal… well… mostly…
I’ve also come across a really great book to help with managing behaviour (both adults and children) called Cool That Volcano by Peter Blake – I really liked the style and tone, as well as the content obviously!