WASHINGTON, D.C. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Bullying is now one of the top concerns parents have about their kids’ health, according to a recent survey published in U.S. News and World Report, just behind obesity and right before drug use. Less than ten years ago, bullying didn’t even show up in the top ten. But, at any age, researchers say parents can play a critical, positive role in the way children treat each other.
From the school yard to the classroom and even online, it’s one thing that may be tough to avoid.
Kralia Martinez, a parent told Ivanhoe, “We live in a different world now. Bullying is hard core. It’s everywhere.”
Selma Caal, PhD, is a developmental psychologist at Child Trends. She said children can show aggressive behavior as young as seventeen months, which is often normal.
Caal detailed, “They’re becoming aware of what they want, how they feel and so they want to assert themselves.”
Caal said there are things parents can do to help children assert themselves in ways that doesn’t hurt others.
Call explained, “They can talk to their children. The more language they give them, the more ability the children are going to have to express themselves.”
Researchers say studies show the more a child is able to express him or herself, the better the child can develop self-control because it’s the key to reducing aggression. Caal said in addition to language skills, parents can help children develop the social skills needed. Caal calls them the three C’s: Consideration, Compassion and Consistency.
Caal said, “For example, if a child is taking away a toy from another friend and the mom reacts or responds to the child, ‘I see you really, really want that toy. At the same time, I see that you’re angry because you can’t have it.’ So in that situation the parent is not only being considerate of the fact that he want the toy but also compassionate to the feelings he is feeling at the same time.”
Researchers say parents who model the three C’s, raise children who the same way.
Caal told Ivanhoe, “When a peer falls, the child comes and says ‘Oh are you okay?’, or when the child is able to readily share a toy that is popular.”
Martinez, said, “I’m raising my children to be nice, and calm.”
For parents and teachers looking for more support, researchers say there are several training programs that work including one called the Incredible Years. The programs target four key timeframes in the first 12 years of a child’s life.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising and Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.
Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.