The subject of bullying is nothing new. In fact, many schools have implemented programs to address the issue of bullying. It’s important to give children the tools for dealing with bullies.
In this picture book, “Bully” by Judith Caseley, Mickey is having trouble with a classmate and is offered advice from his family. What idea will work?
Read this book with your child and do some role-playing to reinforce some of the suggestions in the book.
Parent-Initiated Discussion Questions
1. Mickey says to Jack, “You used to be a mouse and now you’ve turned into a great big rat!" What has happened in Jack’s life that has changed him? (There’s a new baby in the family and Jack is not getting the attention from his mom like before.)
2. What things did Jack do to Mickey that upset him? (Stepped on his hand, stole his cookies and broke his pencil)
3. When Mickey was helping Dad in the garden what was the good thing that he did? (He talked the problem over with his dad.)
4. What suggestions did Dad have? (Use brave words like: “Stop", “I don’t like that!")
5. What was mother’s advice? (Love thy neighbor. Try being nice to Jack.)
6. What finally worked? (Mickey made Jack laugh. But he also did all the other things his family suggested, too.)
7.Did Mickey’s family do the right thing by letting Mickey try to fix the problem himself without them interfering? (Yes)
8. Discuss other ways that Mickey could have handled the problem.
9. Do you think that sometimes a group of students can confront a bully and stand up for the victim?
10. When is it necessary to get an adult involved right away?
Do some role-playing with your child/children. Introduce the scenarios at the dinner table,while riding in the car or whenever you feel the time is right. You may even want to involve some of your child’s friends in the activity if it seems appropriate. You don't need to do them all at once but create a situation to talk about when the moment seems right.
Suggestions for bullying scenarios:
1. A bigger boy picks on a smaller child everyday after school. You and your friends see this happen.
2. Sue makes Lisa do her homework every night.
3. Sarah is chubby and a group of classmates make fun of her at recess. You feel uncomfortable but don’t do anything.
4. John torments the dog that lives in a house close to the school. The owners are at work. You see this happen on your way to school.
5. The students often play baseball at recess. Whenever Mike is up to bat, the pitcher Josh throws a pitch that hits Mike on purpose.
6. Ashley is saying bad things about Jenny to the other girls. None of it is true.
Use the book “Bully” as a springboard to family discussions. You don’t need to wait until your child comes to you with a problem. Begin talking about dealing with bullies before a problem ever occurs. Encourage your child to come to you when they are troubled by something.
That doesn’t mean that you have to take over and solve the problem for them. Give the child the tools to do their own problem solving. It’s all part of growing up!