Bullying can be a parent’s worst nightmare.
Either you know about someone hurting your child, and it seems like you’re helpless to stop it or you don’t know someone is hurting your child, and they are suffering without you even knowing.
Which is worse?
Children of military families can face some unique challenges when it comes to bullying in schools, and that’s where Parent to Parent hopes to help.
“Sometimes, if you’re shy, if you’re an introvert, it’s harder to go to new locations and make friends,” Michelle Persons, parent educator with the Parent to Parent Huntsville Team, said. “And that’s the problem we have with this transitional lifestyle we have.”
The group will hold a workshop on Jan. 30 at the Pershing Welcome Center from noon to 1 p.m. to help educate parents on ways to address bullying with their children.
According to stopbullying.gov, about 20% of students say they’ve been bullied, and about 30% of young people say they’ve bullied someone.
It can come in many forms. Kids can verbally tease and abuse one another, there’s the physical bullying – kicking, pushing, punching – and now it comes in digital forms.
The key to bullyproofing, according to Persons, is to teach kids to be resilient and confident and provide them with tools to stand up to bullying.
The program is based on the Seven Cs of Resiliency created by Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, a pediatrician at The Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.
The seven Cs are competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping and control.
Persons gave several examples, including one about how kids making connections outside of their immediate family is OK and can be beneficial even if it goes against many parents’ instincts to shelter their children and try to keep everything inside the home.
“The family is one of the central forces for a child’s connection in life, but it doesn’t have to be the only one,” she said. “Sometimes it’s hard to tell mom and dad because you’re afraid they might get angry if you tell them so-and-so is doing such-and-such. But a coach or religious leader or a teacher might be set back and be able to see it more objectively and help.”
In addition to addressing bullying from a child’s perspective, the workshop could also help parents see it differently from their perspective.
“(We want) to let parents know that they are not alone,” she said. “If your kid is being bullied, they are not the only kid in their school who is being bullied. There are resources, and there are people who can help you.”
Parents can register for the workshop by calling Army Community Service at 876-5397.
The Pershing Welcome Center is at 3443 Aerobee Road, and the workshop is presented by Huntsville-Parent to Parent Educators in cooperation with the Exceptional Family Member Program.