Don’t Create a bully! Parents, are you creating a bully in your teen? WHAT??? Of course no one would do that. BUT, you could very well be doing that very thing. We ALL want to think we would NEVER encourage our kids to be bullies. The truth is, we CAN do things that will help prevent bully behavior in our children and teens. With the country seemingly more divided than ever, children are taking their cues from what they see. We tell them to deal with their issues calmly, but what they see in the news and on the street since the presidential election is something very different. Bullying is on the rise among teens. Why? BECAUSE WE ARE TEACHING THEM TO BE BULLIES! Our actions or inactions have a great impact on our kids just as it does on others around us. Protect your kids by just doing these 4 things.

4 Ways to Avoid Creating a BULLY in your teen:

1.Shield your kids from the TV

The media is FULL of adults behaving badly. Limiting kid’s access will help. TV, Facebook, Instagram are all promoting stories of adults behaving badly because it sells. It is interesting and our human nature is to want to “be in the know” and find out all the details. The volume of stories like this can effect adult behavior, but the effects on our kids is even greater. You need to be the filter they need. Limit how much your kids see in the media as well as what they have access to through social media. Be sure you KNOW what they are watching and interested in. These times call for more involvement with your kids than before. Be active and intentional in your teen’s life especially online.

2. Let your actions speak LOUDER than your words

You are the single biggest role model for your kids. While they may not SAY it, they are watching. They are ALWAYS watching. How are you interacting with others? More importantly, how are you interacting with people with opposing views? Are you treating them with kindness? Do you agree to disagree? Or are you mumbling under your breath? Are you name calling or worse yelling at people? Every action you make and every action you DON’T make is being scrutinized by your kids as they try to figure out who they are and who they want to be. Watch what you say and more importantly what you DO. Be kind and show respect. As you respond to opposing views, think first about how you would want your kids to respond in a similar situation. Model the behavior you want to see in them.

3. Use Positive Language/Watch Your Words

Words MATTER! Are you yelling at the TV or at the people wearing a political T-shirt? STOP IT! It’s ok to disagree with others. It’s what makes this country function the way it should. But, much like what you post on social media, once your words are out there your kids remember it forever! Teach your kids your viewpoints, but teach them to use words wisely. Tell them you disagree with people but use positive words. It’s NOT easy sometimes. We get angry and frustrated. But, those are the times when parenting is the most important. True character is shown in times of difficulty, not when life is easy. Dig deep and remember you have a job and a responsibility to teach your child how to be a responsible, strong, kind adult. Use EVERY opportunity to do that.

4. Correct Bully Behavior

We will see and hear bully behavior from our kids at some point as they grow up. Correct them. Don’t let them slide because you are tired or don’t know HOW to address it. It’s NOT CUTE! Saying something about bully behavior will help them learn personal boundaries. Your teen may yell at you or get an attitude, but they are listening. Don’t let the fear of an awkward moment or even a day or two of attitude keep you from correcting bully behavior in your child. Be kind but firm in the correct way to handle the situation. It WILL teach them boundaries and how to discipline themselves when they are adults. You may not see it right away, but be consistent and unwavering. You will see them return to your teachings over time.

Don’t believe the lie that bullying is “just a fact of life.” It doesn’t have to be. If we model and correct with the proper behavior ALL THE TIME, our kids will start to model what they see in us. As parents there is little more important that this. Step up to the plate and we will watch the bullying statistics go down TOGETHER. We can do it.

Hear what my bullied daughter has to say about it: NOT DEFINED BY A BULLY

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