The following was brought to you in partnership with Wonder the movie. Wonder tells the inspiring story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters a mainstream school for the first time. In theaters November 17.
We want to teach our children good values, but they spend so much of their time away from us, in schools where they're learning values from the trends of the day.
The current trend: reverse bullying.
The Urban Dictionary defines "reverse bullying" as bullying someone for bullying someone else. For example, if some girls start calling another girl mean names, the bullied girl and a friend might "reverse bully" them by leaving mean notes in their cubbies.
Reverse bullying may seem to be a natural response to mean behavior. For this reason, it's critical that you have candid conversations with your children about appropriate responses in situations like these.
We can reclaim the definition of reverse bullying. Let's make it mean something positive, something beautiful.
Here's what you can do to help your child reverse the effects of bullying and be a positive influence in his or her environment:
Say three nice things
If your child hears unkind rumors or gossip being passed around by her friends, an easy way to disarm the bullies is to instead list true, positive things about the person being bullied.
Your child can even go a step further. If your child is being bullied, tell her not to bite back with mean remarks. Tell her to kill her bullies with kindness. She can say nice things about them to them.
Talk to the person being bullied
If your child sees someone teasing and making fun of another kid, your child should begin a conversation with the person being bullied. The conversation should be lighthearted and friendly. He should do his best to ignore what the bully is saying.
Get out of there
Sometimes inviting the child being bullied away from the situation is a simple solution to escape the situation.
Kids tend to respond submissively or aggressively to bullies. In general, neither is very effective. Instead, it's important to speak to bullies in a friendly but firm manner. Role-play with your child until the delivery is instinctive.
Your child isn't the only one who wants to stand up to bullies. Help him identify other advocates to dilute the power of bullies.
If your child has been involved in bullying before or even if she has stood by without stopping bullying, an apology is in order. It can be hard for your child to say "I'm sorry," so help her understand the importance and practice the apology so she is able to express her apology completely.
Talk to an adult
Most bullying happens in places where adults aren't around. Teach your child that telling adults about bullying isn't "tattling." Going to adults in these situations is the best way to keep everyone safe.
For more inspiration on how you can show your kids to combat bullying situations, don't miss the upcoming film "Wonder", starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson & Jacob Tremblay. The film tells the inspiring and heartwarming story of a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade for the first time, where he learns to navigate school, friendships and bullies.