October is recognized as National Bullying Prevention Month. The fact we have to have a month dedicated to bullying awareness and prevention says it all. Bullying is a problem. One out of every four students reports being bullied at school. With the takeover of social media in the teen and pre-teen’s life, there are even more ways to bully than ever before. But what can you, as a parent, do about it? You might feel helpless, but you’re not, especially when it comes to preventing bullying.
I’m frequently asked to speak to kids about important things like bullying, sex, drugs, and alcohol. My preference is always to speak to parents instead. As a pediatrician, I have learned a couple of things about kids and what changes who they become.
First, actions speak a lot louder than words. We can tell them important things—and we must—but far more important than speaking to them is being good adults in front of them. Our actions impact our kids far more powerfully than our words.
Second, when it comes to who influences kids most—their peers, a professional like me, or their parents—there is no contest. A parent holds all the power in a child’s life because every child is connected to his parents by his needs. He wants to know what his parents think, feel and believe in. Once he can figure this out, then he is on his way toward modeling his behavior after his mother’s or father’s.