A great way to start a conversation, particularly one that might be difficult, is to read a related book. There are many wonderful books available that touch on different aspects of friendships, school relationships, and handling difficult situations. Some books to start a conversation about bullying could include:
- Billy-Bully: A School-Yard Counting Tale, Ana Galan, Awaro Galan
- Chrysanthemum, Kevin Henkes
- Stop Picking On Me: A First Look at Bullying, Pat Thomas, Lesley Harker
- Stand Up for Yourself and Your Friends, Pattie Kelley Criswell
- The Juice Box Bully, Bob Sornsen
Then, talk to your child about the stories and about the characters. Ask what your child would do in a similar situation. Here are some suggestions for starting that discussion:
- Listen. Just listen to what your child says about the book. Let them tell their stories, if they want to do that.
- Share. Tell stories about your own experiences with friends and classmates both when you were younger and also recently.
- Read and Talk. Read books with your child about bullying, friendships, and school situations. Read them out loud and stop frequently to talk about what has already happened, predict what might happen, and share ideas about the situation.
- Talk about Feelings. Ask your child questions about their feelings. How do their friends make them feel? How do they feel at lunch or recess? Share your own feelings. Help define feelings and support them. Make sure your child knows that a wide range of feelings are very normal.
- Ask for Help. If you, or your child, are worried about something, ask for help. Talk to teachers, counselors, doctors, friends, and other parents.