Bullying happens so frequently in our society. While bullying has been around for many years, it seems to be brought more into the public light these days. It is so important to speak to our kids about bullying and its chain reaction of negative results. No good can come out of bullying no matter the situation. Grab a tube of toothpaste and a plate and sit down with your child to talk about bullying. What does toothpaste have to do with bullying you ask? Let me explain:
Ask Your Child
Take the time to ask your child what they know about bullying. Have an open and honest age appropriate conversation with them about bullying.
Grab a plate and a new tube of toothpaste. Instruct your child to squeeze the entire tube of toothpaste out onto the plate. Once they have completed that task, ask them to put the toothpaste back in the tube. You are sure to be met with some form of “I can’t” and they are exactly right.
The tube of toothpaste represents a person. Their hands on the outside of the tube represent the bullying (whether verbal or digital) that is taking place. By squeezing the tube of toothpaste they are inflecting bullying onto the person and watching the results as the toothpaste exits the tube. The toothpaste that is now all over the plate, is the damage that has been caused mentally and emotionally to the recipient.
The act of trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube is like trying to fix the wounds that are caused by bullying. Even if you are able to get some of the toothpaste back into the tube, it will never be the same as it was at the beginning of the demonstration. Much like the person who has been bullied. It may not be outwardly damaging but mentally and emotionally it causes severe damage.
After the Demonstration
Take as much time as needed to explain to your child that it is important to use their words and actions in a positive manner. Be the person that sticks up for those who are being bullied. It is important for them to be kind to others no matter the situation. The words and actions that they use today, have consequences that will last forever.
Bullying leaves permanent scars both mentally and emotionally for the person who has endured it. Be open with your child and honestly answer any questions they may have. Be receptive if it happens that your child has been bullied and help them to gain the confidence to be the voice for the person who needs it.