A colleague at Care.com recently had an issue with her son’s friend getting bullied.
It started as a rhyme. The kids were rhyming their names and one boy didn’t like it. Two of the kids decided it would be funny to call him his "rhyme name" purely because it upset him. And it became a taunting chant.
The boy got upset. And more kids joined in, including my colleague's son. They chanted and teased him to tears.
The most shocking part: They were 3 years old.
This is how bullying begins. Now, we could take this example and say that kids will be kids and this is how they learn to stand up for themselves. That they need to learn to stand up for themselves.
But I feel we need to take this example and say that kindness needs to be taught as young as three. And anti-bullying campaigns need to be implemented as early as preschool. This is why we have partnered with Clear Channel Media and The Weinstein Company to promote the March 30th release of Bully, an incredibly powerful documentary of 5 families trying to transform how schools and communities respond to the deadly issue of bullying. For every person who watches the trailer on ClearChannel.com, Care.com will donate to FacingHistory.org, an educational resource that works in schools to "combat prejudice with compassion, indifference with participation, and myth and misinformation with knowledge."
Bullying has become a common word these days. It affects 13 million kids a year. As parents, we are aware: We know to look for the signs they’re being bullied, check in on their social media activity, ask them questions. But how can we prevent it?
We need to teach our kids to be good friends, stand up for those who are getting picked on, and no longer look the other way if someone is being mistreated or is suffering. Ask the shy kid to sit with you, tell a mean girl she’s a bully, befriend someone who looks like they could use a friend.
It’s this empowerment that we can start early, as early as preschool. It also needs to be a group effort. Get the nanny, grandparents, neighbors and parents on board to help spot – and stop – bullying.
With the launch of Bully and President Obama encouraging bullied children to speak up, all of this media attention is only a good thing. It creates more awareness, prevention strategies and conversation. It’s always a good idea to check in with ourselves – and ask: How are we are raising our children, protecting the bullied, and looping in our babysitters and nannies to help us fight this battle? Get more anti-bullying resources at care.com/bullying.
How are you teaching your child to be a good friend?