Raising Stand Up Kids

Raising Stand-Up KidsI sigh in frustration with each instance of bullying that makes the news. Whether or not the end result includes a loss, if it’s newsworthy, it’s tragic in one way or another.

I can’t help but worry that not enough is being done. There are programs in schools. Books for all ages line the shelves of the bookstores that managed to survive the digital age. And in some lucky towns, law enforcement works closely with schools and parents to decrease bullying.

And yet, kids don’t feel safe. With cyberbullying on the rise among young SmartPhone users, there truly is no safe place to turn. It used to be that you could go home to get away from the mean girls. Today, the mean girls are just one little click away.

Teach kindness

If we want to raise stand up kids, the kind of kids who help others, refuse to participate in bullying, and stand up for their beliefs, we have to start by teaching kindness.

Kindness stretches far beyond sharing in the sandbox and holding a door open for the next person in line. Kindness is caring for the greater good, extending a hand to someone in need, and cheering for a friend when she reaches a goal.

Kindness counts.

Teach empathy

If we want to raise stand up kids, we have to teach empathy. We have to show them what it means to understand what another is going through.

We have to cut through the initial emotions and help them see what lies beneath. We have to teach them to really care.

Empathy counts.

Teach acceptance

If we want to raise stand up kids, we have to teach acceptance. Not tolerance – not, there’s nothing I can do so I’ll just tolerate you. No, we have to teach our children to embrace differences.

Different is good. Different is interesting. Different makes the world a better place.

Acceptance counts.

Strength in one

It’s hard to be a kid. It’s easy to get caught up in the masses, to simply go along for the ride. It’s hard to be the one who stands tall and says no.

But if we truly want to raise stand up kids, we have to teach them the strength in one. It only takes one kid to stand up for another. It only takes one to say, no, this isn’t right. At the end of the day, it only takes one.

How do you talk to your kids about bullying?

Katie Hurley

Katie Hurley, LCSW, is a child and adolescent psychotherapist, parenting expert, and writer. She is founder of “Girls Can!” empowerment groups for girls between the ages of 5 and 11 and the author of The Happy Kid Handbook and No More Mean Girls.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of DrGreene.com. The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or DrGreene.com, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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