From the stepsisters in Disney’s Cinderella to Lotso in Disney’s Toy Story 3, it is not uncommon to see the role of bullies presented in family movies. Unfortunately, this behavior can happen outside of the screen. As your children take on the world, there are ways to teach them how to react to bullying, prevent it, and change their own behavior if they engage in bullying.
How Children Can React to Bullies:
- Talk to a trusted adult, parent, or teacher about what is happening
- Ask a trusted adult to interfere while it is taking place
- Tell the bully to stop in a clear, calm voice
- Response with a light-hearted laugh
- Leave the situation
- Distance yourself from the bullying
- Respond with kindness
How to Prevent Bullying:
- Stay near trusted adults and friends
- Teach your child to recognize the behaviors and how to react (see the list above)
How to Recognize if Your Child Engages in Bullying:
- Tease others about how they look?
- Leave kids out of games or groups on purpose?
- Hit, push, or shove other kids?
- Or do/say other behavior that can be physically or emotionally harmful?
What Children Who Bully Can Do:
- Talk to a trusted adult, parent, or teacher, about what is happening
- Learn to recognize the harmful behavior
- Stop engaging in the bullying behavior
- Say sorry to those they have mistreated
- Seek opportunities to be kind, respectful, and learn about what makes others unique
In addition, bullying can happen almost anywhere at any time due to the internet. Find ways to protect your children from cyberbullying here.
In contrast to the bullies within Cinderella and Toy Story 3, children can learn how to be kind like Olaf in Disney’s Frozen, or a team player like Mickey himself. Teaching children how to recognize bullying can help their physical and emotional well-being as well as that of those around them. Additionally, knowing how to react to and prevent bullying from occurring will build confidence in children. Teach children to respond in a way that is healthy and most comfortable to them. This learning can and should begin in the home!