• Op-Ed

    Bullying: What Parents Can Do About It

    Dr. Donna Housman       

    Not all parents are parents of emotionally smart and aware children. When bullying occurs, it becomes clear that teaching emotional intelligence makes a difference. Conflict erupts when one child behaves in ways that exert power and control over his peers while the other has been taught to express his feelings with words.

    So, what can parents do in this type of a situation? Because bullying can happen as early as preschool, parents can stop it before it even starts by arming their children with the skills of emotional intelligence.  At Beginnings, we are available to listen to the children, and we accept their feelings. This is different than accepting their behavior. This way, children will start understanding that an adult will be empathic and sensitive to their needs and emotions in the heat of the moment. After we help children reduce their emotional intensity, we then help them solve the problem. That communication fosters a sense of connection and builds confidence.

    These constructive techniques offer learning opportunities for children to talk about their problems in the middle of conflict resolution. As parents, we need to model the empathy and self-control that we would like to see our children develop. This way, they’ll learn how to use their words to express their emotions, not their actions.

    My thoughts on Bullying Prevention Month will continue next time when I discuss how to promote and build a new attitude and culture that does not invite bullying.

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