This post is sponsored by Google in collaboration with the Forward Influence Network.
As a mom, there’s so much that I want to teach my kids. I love seeing them grow and watching their personalities develop as they get older. From introducing them to their first foods to taking them to their first day of school, there are so many cherished memories that I have as a mom to my little ones. But as Dylan and Mei get older, something else that I need to worry about is bullying. And while there are so many things that you can do as a parent when it comes to providing the best for your kids and shielding them from certain dangers, things like bullying can turn up where you least expect it.
What to do About Bullying:
This isn’t something that I’ve mentioned before, but we actually had to deal with our first bullying incident with Dylan last year in his kindergarten class. I never would have thought that we would be dealing with issues like what to do about bullying at such an early age, but in a way, I’m glad that this was something that we encountered earlier instead of what can be in the more difficult teenage years. I first noticed it when Dylan was acting out at home after school, being much more physical with his younger sister Mei than before. Dylan has always had the silliest, most carefree, and outgoing personality, so after a couple days when I noticed that he seemed constantly angry and emotional, I knew that something was up.
I asked Dylan what was going on — if there was something that had happened at school that had upset him. While he was a bit reluctant at first, finally the tears started coming and he told me that a couple other boys were being mean to him at school. It was three boys who called themselves the “Mean Team” and they would repeat things that Dylan said in mocking “baby voices”, chase him around the playground, and not listen to him when he would say “stop”. It broke my heart to hear all of this; I was sad and angry at the same time that this would be happening to my precious boy.
For us, we ended up having discussions with the teachers, parents, and school administration regarding this issue (Dylan wasn’t the only one being bullied, sadly), but in the same vein, it’s made me realize it’s even more important to educate kids about what to do about bullying. October is National Bullying Prevention Month and I’m proud to be partnering with Google to share their Be Internet Awesome program. It’s disheartening when you see the statistics:
28% of students have experienced bullying personally
71% of students have witnessed bullying directly
only 20-30% of students notify adults about bullying
When it comes to the internet and bullying, it can be easier than ever when people can hide behind their keyboards and monitors. Be Internet Awesome is an effort to combat these numbers — to help students and families see how they can make choices that disempower bullying behavior and instead create healthy, productive spaces to interact!
Being kind, both in real life and online, starts at home in the family. Google’s Be Internet Awesome program has online resources available to help parents and I love that they make it fun too with their offering of Interland games! Sometimes it’s just hardest to talk about the topic with your kids so the activities offered in these games provide a good opportunity to lay the foundation that can then offer talking points. Both words and actions can make a big impact on others, so it’s important to make good decisions when choosing what to say and also in how to deliver it.
A family is the best group of people for practicing respect, kindness, and positivity — kids can realize it’s ok to mess up but to then learn from that mistake, apologize, and grow from the experience. Just as important is to encourage each other to be “upstanders”: people who help the person being hurt when they see something hurtful happening and help turn negative situations into positive ones.
As a mom, we all want our kids to be happy, healthy and kind as they grow up. Bullying shouldn’t be a part of it and I love that Google’s Be Internet Awesome is spreading the word so that we can all be involved to end it. Be sure to check out Interland with your kids and put your kindness skills to the test at g.co/KindKingdom.
Let’s all come together — have conversations with our kids, be an Upstander, and let’s promote positivity at home, school, and online! #ItsCoolToBeKind
Loving this what to do about bullying feature? Take a look here for more of my family favorites!