To shine a light on how parents can use their ‘Power for Good’, mum of three and teacher Emma Bradley shares how she is using her power to help her children deal with bullying.
Having been doing this parenting stuff for almost 17 years I feel that I have experienced most things. Couple that with twelve years teaching experience in the secondary school classroom and I feel pretty validated in understanding teenagers.
Growing up is not easy and I honestly think it is harder than ever now due to the smartphone that is permanently in hand. Young people often get a bad press in my observations, they are given so many mixed messages and at the same time hormones are coursing around their bodies.
Helping to shape children’s behaviour
Yet most young people are doing exactly what we want them too, when we want them too. I am a firm believer that as parents we have a fundamental role to play in shaping young people’s beliefs and behaviour. It is crucial to keep talking and be a role model who demonstrates the skills you want to instil.
What does ‘Power for Good’ mean?
We are fast approaching Anti-Bullying Week and the theme this year is ‘Power for Good’. The aim is threefold; for young people to recognise that they are a force for good, that they can encourage action to stop bullying. Secondly to give parents the confidence to support their children and finally for school staff to appreciate the value and difference they can make to young people’s lives.
First step – encouraging them to be a good friend
My children are 16, 12, and almost 7 and they have all made mistakes, they have said hurtful things to others and upset themselves in the process. Learning to be a good friend is a skill and it can take time for some children to manage those friendships.
When my children get it wrong I always challenge them as they need guidance, and that is part of parenting. As a teacher it is so important to recognise those children in your care who are struggling with friendship issues. In these cases I will try to buddy up similar children. As a parent I have employed the same tactics and I arrange playdates to consolidate friendships.
Recognising what bullying really is
I am also very careful when using the word bullying – I think schools are much more in tune with bullying but sometimes behaviour can be labelled too quickly. Bullying is consistent and prolonged, it is not just falling out with someone or changing friendships groups. Bullying is much more deep seated than that.
As a parent know the signs which can include:
Children or young people becoming secretive
Children unable to explain that they have lost money, clothing, books or equipment
Young people that suddenly become more argumentative
If you suspect bullying speak to your child telling them that it is not their fault. Find out what they want to be done as this gives them some power back. Then speak to the school, preferably a teacher the child likes.
Empowering children to do good
Together positive outcomes can be achieved. Using our ‘Power for Good’ can give children the confidence to realise that they too have the power to do good.
Encourage your children to be kind and be a force for good. One of the best things you can give your children is belief in themselves. If you read the empower section on www.emmaand3.com you will see that I always aim to empower my children, I use positive words and growth mindsets to build my children up. It seems to work because they are pretty good kids!
Find out more about Anti-Bullying Week (14th – 18th November) and how you can get involved.
Visit our cyberbullying pages to learn how you can prepare your child to deal with cyberbullying should it happen to them.