Bullying seemed to reach a tipping point in 2010. National media coverage of children committing suicide because of bullying was everywhere we looked. It’s good that the media is paying attention and getting the word out because bullying has happened, is happening, and will continue to happen – unless we educate ourselves and our children. We can stop it, but it’s going to take mindful parents raising mindful children.
There is a tremendous amount of media available from Anderson Cooper’s special report, “Bullying, It Stops Here” to the ongoing It Gets Better Project as well as numerous web sites and other information. These sources can be very helpful to educate you and your older children but bullying doesn’t just spring up suddenly when kids hit adolescence. The behaviors that can lead to bullying start as early as preschool. Fortunately there’s an easy way to start a conversation with your younger children about bullying and the emotions associated with both bullies and their victims.
Read to them.
Here are some excellent books to get you started.
For younger children:
Most of these authors have written several books that teach empathy, respect, talk forthrightly about elements of bullying, or depict what it is like to be bullied. In some cases these books deal with emotions that can result from, or lead to, bullying and they provide an excellent opportunity to talk to your children about how to deal with those emotions.
Amanda Pig on Her Own by Jean Van Leeuwen
Dora’s Box by Ann-Jeanette Campbell
Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue by Julia Cook
The Brand New Kid by Katie Couric
Surviving Brick Johnson By Laurie Myers
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Rosie’s Story by Martine Gogoll
Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie de Paola
How To Lose All Your Friends by Nancy Carlson
The Meanest Thing to Say by Bill Cosby
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
The Hundred Dresses by Elinor Estes
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Angel Child, Dragon Child by Michele Maria Surat
The Ant Bully by John Nickle
The Honest-to-Goodness Truth by Patricia C. McKissack
I Speak English for My Mom by Muriel Stanek
The Magic Fan by Keith Baker
Believing Sophie by Hazel Hutchins
Crickwing by Janell Cannon
How to Fight a Girl by Thomas Rockwell
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
Judy Moody by Megan McDonald
The Summer My Father Was Ten by Pat Brisson
Children grades 2 and up:
As far as I am concerned buy anything that Northwest native Trudy Ludwig writes – her books are realistic and they break down a complex subject for kids without being condescending.
Sorry, Just Kidding
My Secret Bully
As your child gets older – Confessions of a Former Bully.