This post is sponsored by The Monique Burr Foundation for Children. All opinions expressed are my own. Let’s #ChangeTheConversation.
HOW TO END BULLYING? LET’S #CHANGETHECONVERSATION
As a parent and a former classroom teacher, I know we all want to end bullying. Unfortunately I’m hearing about it more. And sadly, bullying feels likes it’s changed from when we were kids too, to some pretty serious levels. Are we actually “doing” something about it?
We need change, real change. Because the statistics are scary. It’s time to #ChangeTheConversation.
The truth is, 1 in 4 children will be bullied or abused in their lifetime. 1 in 5 kids will be cyberbullied. 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. Nearly 3 million children are neglected or abused in the U.S. every year. This is unacceptable.
It’s up to us to put a stop to abuse of all forms. But here’s the good news. 95% of abuse is preventable with education. We need to make sure our children understand what it means to be a bully, why it’s wrong and the damage it can cause. It’s a topic that we never want to talk about with our children but the reality is we need to to keep them prepared and protected.
BUILDING A TRUSTING RELATIONSHIP WITH MY CHILD
To raise good kids who choose not to bully and who can identify unwanted aggressive or abusive behaviors, you need to invest in them. I had a heartfelt conversation with my child’s school resource officer after the recent school shootings and preventing gun violence and there were many things that he shared that were important for us to do at home as parents.
The first thing of high priority as a parent is to really get plugged into your child’s everyday moments. Your “How was school today?” discussion needs to be happening each night at the dinner table. We build their self-esteem, self love, and build their trust in you as a parent and in others. The goal is to build that trust so they will freely discuss the little things and big things that are happening in their life.
Recently my middle school daughter experienced her first incident with someone who was repeatedly using unkind words towards her at school and online through a school email system for students. As parents we could sense she was not quite herself and as we talked about it with her over several days we realized that she didn’t feel comfortable talking to someone at school about what was happening. We immediately reached out to her school authorities to help intervene with the situation and things have been resolved. It was an eye opening experience to us that we need to do a better job of teaching our children how speak up for themselves and be able to identify bullying behaviors.
ENCOURAGE ABUSE PREVENTION PROGRAMS IN OUR SCHOOLS
This bully experience with my daughter made it glaringly obvious that as a mom, I can’t be with my child all of the time to protect them. My kids need to hear about bullying and child abuse prevention from more than just me. We need programs in our schools to talk about bullying and abuse. Programs that talk with kids about what they need to look for and most importantly what to do next. The Monique Burr Foundation for Children is leading the charge to bring more of these programs to our schools.
I wanted to share with you about the MBF Child Safety Matters™ prevention program by The Monique Burr Foundation for Children. This 20-year old Florida based nonprofit organization provides abuse prevention education programs in our schools from kindergarten to eighth grade. Through their MBF Child Safety Matters™ and MBF Teen Safety Matters™ prevention programs, the MBF is on a mission to educate and empower students with information and strategies to prevent, recognize, and respond appropriately to bullying, cyberbullying, digital dangers, and all types of child abuse and exploitation.
Their K-8 prevention education programs come at no extra cost to Florida public school students or parents. Their education programs offer information that gives teachers, counselors and parents the knowledge to prevent bullying and abuse.
TAKE ACTION: CHANGE THE CONVERSATION
Not all schools have such a program…yet. That’s why it is time for us to Change the Conversation. We as parents need to take action and encourage ALL schools to have bullying and child abuse prevention programs.
Reach out to your child’s teacher, guidance counselor, principal or school resource officer and share with them. Reach out to your school’s PTA or School Advisory Committee to see how they can take action to get abuse prevention programs into your child’s school or even school district. Be the voice for those who have none. This is something we can do right now. Sign up now and petition to The Monique Burr Foundation for Children in your local school – so we all work together to put a stop to bullying and child abuse, permanently.
I want to end bullying today. I want to end child abuse today. I want change to happen NOW. I know we can change the conversation together.