Bullying Prevention Tips With Ann Marie Halstead! by Donna John
Are you afraid that your child is being bullied at school? Do you fear that your child is the one doing the bullying? You’re not alone. Bullying affects just about everyone in some way. Ann Marie Halstead, bullying prevention advocate, author, professor and mom of two boys, joined us recently to share her tips on bullying prevention!
Q: You inspire us with your bullying prevention advocacy. Why are you so committed to educating people about it?
A: Thank you! Bullying affects so many kids today. @AmerMedicalAssn has labeled bullying a public health concern. I believe we ALL need to own this problem. Our kids need us and there’s so much more we can do. Bullying has always existed but cyber-bullying has exacerbated the problem. Old methods aren’t working.
Q: How should we approach bullying prevention programming today?
A: First, start early. Waiting until late elementary school is too late. Start in kindergarten, preschool even. Teach respect, kindness. Teaching tolerance should not be our aim. People want to be accepted, not tolerated. Raise expectations and kids will meet them. I believe we should also stop labeling children. Labels like “bully” and “victim” can be very harmful.
Q: There’s been a lot of discussion of zero tolerance policies. Are they effective?
A: No. The @APA Zero Tolerance Task Force reported that such policies haven’t improved school safety or school climate, and that different strategies are needed. Bullying prevention methods that are more successful tend to be positive and integrated into the curriculum.
Q: You’ve written a bullying-prevention play, picture book and song. How can the arts help with bullying prevention?
A: Research shows that kids respond well to the arts and that participation in the arts has cognitive and affective benefits. A curricular example: In art class students could paint pictures of what a safe, no-bullying school would look and feel like. An entire grade level or the whole school could perform a bullying prevention play or songs. A team effort!
Download “The Bucket Filling Song” here!
Q: How can we get involved in the bullying-prevention effort?
- Talk to your children about bullying. Discuss kindness, empathy, respect.
- Encourage them to express feelings.
- Encourage your kids to be UPSTANDERS, people who take action, especially when easiest course is to do nothing.
- Let school officials know that bullying prevention programming is important and worth the time, effort and resources.
- Work with your parent organization to bring in guests to perform or talk to the students about bullying. Kids need to hear the same message from a variety of voices, and teachers and other school officials need support.
Q: Any final words of advice regarding bullying prevention for our community of parents?
A: Communicate with your kids and students. Let them know they can come to you if they’re being bullied. Remember that kids who bully have often been bullied themselves and often have low self-esteem. Try to get to the bottom of why a child exhibits bullying behaviors. It’s often a sign that she or he needs support. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a great time to plan some bullying prevention programming! But let’s continue discussing bullying prevention all year, not just in October!
30Second Mom encourages all parents to get involved in bullying prevention and help our kids be healthy and happy! Follow @AMGHalstead, like her on Facebook and check out her websites BucketFillingPlay.com and Amghalstead.com!
“If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead. Because the reality is, I can take it. But for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with being true to who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it.” – Caitlyn Jenner