Studies show that more than 50% of bullying stops within 10 seconds if a bystander steps in with an intention to help. Even when he/she doesn't say the right thing the intention is what's important. However, it is very important that your child knows how to stay safe while trying to redirect the situation.
Teach your child the importance of empathy, kindness, non-judgement, unity, friendship and compassion towards all abilities, races, religions and genders. Invite diversity into your home and be the example. Here are 3 lessons to teach your child:
1. You are hurting the situation if you encourage the bully to start picking on his victim, if you invite others to join in to cheer the bully, or just by standing in silence and watching the whole thing happen in front of your eyes. You may not realize it but being a silent audience might be exactly what the bully is craving for and will encourage his/her hurtful behavior.
2. If possible always rally up your friends to stand up together against bullying or ask for help from adults. Stay safe. You can help the situation if you step in and take away the bullied, discourage the bully, or redirect the situation to some other activity or subject.
3. Don't fight the bully. Stay calm, be kind to everyone and stay safe. You may make a joke or do something funny to redirect their attention to something else. Always use your voice but never fight back. The main objective is to stay safe and keep everyone else safe as well if possible. If the situation seems volatile, walk a way and immediately inform an adult.
Bullying make school environment unsafe for EVERYONE. It effects bystanders negatively and directly as well by making you them anxious about speaking up, afraid of being victimized, fearful of associating with the bullied or the bully, guilty for not helping and may even cause you a few health problems. Please encourage your child to keep you informed about what he/she experiences and sees at school and online obtain help from a counselor if needed.
Please visit our Bystander page and watch all the videos together with your child. Ask, if she/he has felt or experienced any of the points discussed. Keep the line of communication open by being a compassionate listener without judging to make sure the line of communication always remains open with your child.