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4 Ways to Discuss Bullying and Teach Your Children Empathy + Video

By Jean Tracy, MSS

GETTING KIDS TO DISCUSS BULLYING helps parents teach empathy. If you're like most parents, you don't want your child to purposely hurt others. You don't want your child labeled, ‘Bully.'

Today, I'll share 5 reasons it's hard for bullies to stop, 4 ways to discuss bullying with your kids, and 6 questions to help them think about empathy.

You'll find the link to my short YouTube Video below to help with your discussions.

Bullying Is Hard to Stop When a Child Is:

1. The biggest kid.

Big kids have a size advantage. They can use their bigness to impress others and get what they want.

2. The oldest child.

The oldest kid is often looked up to by younger kids. This gives the older child the power to tease, make cry, and bully the young children.

3. The big sister or brother.

Like the oldest child the big sister or brother can hurt their younger siblings with words, punches, and snubs. Tattling by little kids can drive parents mad and increase the young child's rejection by the older sibling.

4. The leader among friends.

Kids who lead have power to influence. It can be good. When it isn't, the leader can form a band of ruffians and go after the outsiders.

5. The smartest kid with the biggest mouth.

Smart big-mouthed kids are often clever at put-downs and sarcasm. They can hurt the victim's feelings by inciting other children laugh at them.

Being the leader, experiencing power, and getting kids to side with them against victims is hard for the bullies to give up. Why? Because it feels good. How can parents help their child stop bullying?

4 Ways to Discuss and Prevent Bullying:

1. Discuss Nursery Stories

Nursery stories like the Big Bad Wolf, The Three Little Pigs, and the 3 Billy Goats Gruff are examples for younger children. Youngsters dislike the bully's in each of these stories. Parents can ask, “What do you think of the bully? Would you like to have the bully for a friend?”

2. Create a Discussion Story Together

Begin with a story starter like, “Once upon a time in a village far away all the children laughed, played, and had fun together until one child changed…”Each member of the family adds to the story. In the end, discuss the problems with the bully.

3. Use a True Situation in the Neighborhood

Ask your children, “What do you think about the neighborhood bully? How can you help his victims? Would telling the bully's parents help? If so, how would you do it?

4. Listen for Bully Problems at School

At the family dinner or a long car ride ask, “What would you do if someone was bullying you? How would you feel? Has anyone ever bullied you? You're likely to learn what your child or another child is facing. If so, discuss it fully. Getting your kids to think wisely about bullies builds character.

6 Questions for Building Empathy:


1. Can you give some reasons big kids pick on little kids?
2. How do younger children feel when they're the target? Why?
3. Are bullies heroes? Why?
4. What do you think about bullies?
5. What advice would you give a bully?
6. If you could help a victim, what would you do?

Enjoy the discussions because one of life's greatest pleasures is to listen to your children develop their thoughts. They, in turn, love your attention and approval. Asking and listening are two of the best ways for you to influence and build character.

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Here's Your YouTube Video Link Teaching Empathy: How Parents and Kids Discuss Bullying Discuss it with your children and have fun listening to their ideas.

Take a look at my Dilemma Discussion Kit It explains in step-by-step detail exactly how to ask fun character building questions. It includes 51 Moral Dilemmas to Discuss.

I now invite you to receive 80 Fun Activities to play with your kids and a free newsletter from the desk of Jean Tracy, MSS