As we wrap up Bullying Awareness Month, we wanted to invite Megan Sladen Parent back to the show to share with us her tips on the topic of bullying in our schools. In this insightful episode, we chat about the difference between bullying and peer conflict and why you should know the difference, how to support your student as they go through conflict, and so much more. Regardless of whether you have children or not, this episode is full of tips to help you learn how to spot bullying and put a stop to it!
Tune in to hear more from Megan and see below for a full list of topics covered.
To listen to her first episode with Learning Reimagined, click here
Key Topics Covered in This Episode:
- Defining the difference between bullying and peer conflict and why it’s so important to know the difference
- How to support your kids through conflict they may be facing
- Warning signs that your child may be a victim of bullying (or even a perpetrator)
- How role-playing a conflict situation with your kids can be extremely helpful to their discernment
- Practical tips for how parents can support their students going through peer conflict
- Why students should have an adult they can trust on campus
- How to explain to your kids the difference between peer conflict and bullying
- Resources for parents (linked below)
Bullying Prevention Resources:
Connect with the hosts:
Learning Reimagined Podcast Instagram
[00:00:00] Good afternoon and welcome to Learning Reimagined. I am Allison Dampier, and with me is Sandy Gamba Good afternoon, Sandy. How are you?
I’m awesome, Allison. How are you?
I’m doing great. We are excited today to welcome back one of our previous guests.
Megan Sladen Parent is an expert in student support and health services. She currently works in Northern California and she is gonna be with us today to talk to us and really educate us about bullying. What is bullying? It’s become such. Catch, catch all term, in my opinion. And so Megan’s gonna really go through it with us in honor of bullying Prevention Month, which is the month of October, and discuss the difference between peer conflict and bullying.
So I’m very excited for this conversation. I’m excited to learn something and I’m excited to take this information back to my own kids who always complain of bullying all the time. It drives me nuts. So I’m excited to learn some new verbiage for us. So welcome to the podcast, Megan. Thank you so much for [00:01:00] having me.
I really appreciate being back with you. Awesome. Okay, so bullying prevention month. When did that become a. I actually, I’m not sure when, I mean, I feel like every month is designated at least three national things now, but and the reality is true, bullying is devastating. True bullying can lead to serious mental health.
Issues with the target of bullying and the perpetrator of bullying it can lead to suicide, suicidal ideation. So true. Bullying does need to have some work still, and it needs to be addressed, especially in this world where most of our kids live in cyber world all the time. Bullying that happens in that realm.
It can be so devastating and so pervasive and widespread. So I don’t wanna downplay the idea that bullying isn’t significant because it really is the problem is most of the conflict that our young people encounter in schools and in life. Mm-hmm. isn’t bullying, most conflict is [00:02:00] normal peer conflict.
Kids are going to get into conflict. And I think the word bullying is used so often for things that aren’t bullying that people have kind of, Beth, you know, And, and I agree. You know, every time I hear so and so’s bullying someone, my first instinct is to say, Oh, really? Because it really, most of the time it isn’t bullying, right?
So, The, the true bullying has three really distinguishable characteristics, and they were kind of defined by Dan Veis, who is a Swedish psychologist. And then he worked over here in the, the US and did lots of research. And true bullying is, it has an imbalance of power. So it can be physical power, little versus big.
It can be a first grader and a sixth grader. It can be someone with a lot of social capital, with someone without any social capital. So there has to be an imbalance of power. It also has to be pervasive. It’s not just something that happens once, unless it’s really egregious. But bullying is something that is [00:03:00] ongoing.
And then the, the other, the other piece of. Is that it is intent to harm or control. So it isn’t somebody who’s just being rude and doesn’t really understand the ramifications. It isn’t someone who is friends with someone and decides they’re in a bad mood and they’re mean to them one day. It’s pervasive, it’s repeated and it’s it’s mal intent.
So that is true bullying. Sense that definition is so insightful in and of itself, Megan, that really helps me to redefine in my mind what is bullying. So you mentioned earlier when somebody says I’m being bullied or there’s been bullying it. It’s so easy to jump to conclusions without deciphering exactly what it all entailed.
So this truly helps parents and I think those teachers in the classroom and outside the classroom to really narrow down what is happening with the situation and, and quantifying it [00:04:00] a little bit more. So, yes, and I, I say a good way to kind of gauge it is think about if the behavior was to stop, would both parties benefit and in conflict?
Usually when, when the behavior ends, both parties benefit from the lack of conflict in bullying. When it ends, usually only the target benefits from it ending and the perpetrator. That’s really, That is very interesting. That is a really good Just thought to keep in your mind when you’re, you’re discussing this with people Yeah.
To, to determine whether it is true bullying or not. I like that. Sure. Yeah. And there’s the reason why it’s so important to distinguish. Because you deal with the two very differently. Mm-hmm. . So, you know, if it’s a true bullying situation, you need to immediately separate those two. You can’t bring them together to try to solve the problem.
Cuz that could reinjure the target. It can be really, Devastating and you really need to address that [00:05:00] separately. But when you talk about conflict, you know, the idea is you should bring people together to resolve conflict. You should bring students together to resolve conflict. They should work it out.
And so identifying the two before you address it is really key because how you address it is very different. It is significant for me, you know, both as a parent and as an educator. It was really important to me to instill. Children and then the students that I work with that you should try to work through conflict on your own and you should try to address it not without supports, but you definitely should try to address it on your own.
And bullying should never, A target of bullying should never be left alone to deal with it on their own. So that’s why it’s really key to kind of distinguish the two before you start working with the students or working with your own child. We’re sitting here as, Oh, sorry, Sandy, but I’m sitting here as an adult listening to the definition of bullying.
As an adult, it’s harassment. I mean, I, that’s, I’m just [00:06:00] thinking about being in the workplace. I, I had a situation quite a few years ago where I had a boss that every day was something every single day, and it wa it was a sexual harassment type of situation. It was but it was a complete imbalance of power.
It was ongoing. He had intent to control and it, and it was something I could not deal with on my own because he was my boss and what am I supposed to do? And, and. That in my head as you’re going through, I’m like, That’s harassment. It’s harassment. It’s harassment. So maybe we need to change some terminology because bullying really, truly is harassment.
Absolutely. That’s a great analogy because that’s what it is. And that, you know, someone who’s being harassed, it shouldn’t be put, the owner shouldn’t be put on them to try to fix it. You know, they need support. And especially when it’s systemic like that and the power is in balance, out of balance. Whereas, you know, peer conflict.
Is very different. And I think that’s part of, they, they, you need to know how to handle peer conflict. I was just gonna [00:07:00] say that I think that part of the problem is I think a lot of parenting nowadays, we have this notion that we don’t want our young person or child to experience pain and experience disappointment and, and you know, we don’t want anything negative to happen to them.
So we try to clear the way so that none of that happens when the reality. We need, young people are going to experience disappointment and pain and, and problems and difficulties. And it’s not our job as parents to prevent that. It’s our job to help them learn to work through that and to help them progress through that.
And that’s how to become competent adults. And so identifying conflict and then working with them through the conflict is a healthy. Part of childhood and a healthy part of, of growing up and becoming you know, someone who has resilience and grit and the ability to handle life. So I think we, if we kind of let go of the notion that we are, we don’t want our kid to ever experience you get anything bad.
. And that’s a [00:08:00] hard thing to let go of, I realize. Mm-hmm. , because you know, that’s not what we want for our kids, but that is, life does come with difficulties and challenges. Right. And we need to prepare young people and explain that conflict is a part of life. We’re not always gonna get along right away with people, and we’re not always gonna have nice people in our lives.
And you know, and working with that and understanding that is really key to helping them become competent adults. Mm-hmm. It’s a life skill. Absolutely. Mm-hmm. , But I, what, what frustrates me, I guess, is just the overuse of the term. And that’s why I was pretty snarky in the beginning of our, our conversations, like bullying the whole month for bullying.
Come on now. Mm-hmm. , because it is so overuse. I mean, true bullying, thinking of it as, you know, bullying, harassment. It is a very big deal and it is a very such scary situation, but I don’t think it’s as prolific as we’re led to believe. You know, the kids use that term. Loosely and easily. Mm-hmm. , you know, I got enough fight with my, my best friend, she’s [00:09:00] bullying me.
No, she’s really not bullying you. She’s just not being very kind. . Right. So, yeah, exactly. Yeah. So bullying is a very, very serious situation. I mean, it absolutely is. How can a parent, what are some things that we should look for as parents to know if our student or a child hold, excuse me, is getting bullied?
That’s a great question. I mean, some of the things you look for, warning signs, if a, your young person seems more withdrawn if they, you know, stop using their devices, they’re not connecting with friends as much. It can manifest in physical problems, headaches, stomach aches you know, bullying causes mental health.
You know, issues. So the warning signs for mental health issues can, part, part of that can be looking for bullying and if that’s the cause of it. So signs of depression, signs of over anxiousness. Not wanting to go to school. And I don’t mean the, I don’t feel like going to school today, but pervasive every day, getting, really, having difficulty attending school or you.
It when a [00:10:00] young person withdraws from their phone, from their social media, from things that are typically very important to them, that can be a warning sign too. So those are things to really look for if your young person is maybe a target. And the other thing that we really need to talk about is looking for warning signs that maybe your young person is a perpetrator.
And that’s not something that. Often talk about, but when you have a young person who does, won’t take well, isn’t held accountable for something, it won’t take responsibility for their own actions is hostile, aggressive you know, feels superior or assert superiority over others. Those are things you need to look for in a young person who may be exhibiting bullying behaviors.
So I think it’s important that we acknowledge and look for both of those warning signs that someone may be at target, and also warning signs that. Your young person may have some issues because the thing that’s significant about bullying is long term the mental health issues are the same for both the perpetrator and the [00:11:00] target.
So we need to the perpetrator as, as well as the target, not in the same way. Obviously, it’s a different different things we need to address, different behaviors we need to address. Mm-hmm. , those who bully. You know, long term have a lot of mental health issues related to that, so it’s really significant that we look for both in young people.
You know, I was doing some reading Megan, and it said the biggest spike in the K through 12 timeframe. And you may not be surprised to hear this in sixth grade, that transition of starting that middle school era, that that big phase, that’s where the spike happens of most students feeling some type of bullying, whether it’s verbal or physical or, or cyber or social gathers like all of that, or even a combination of, So absolutely.
Really, I. As Allison was saying, as parents, like just being more mindful [00:12:00] or, or just how can we help differentiate and provide tools for these young kids? Mm-hmm. Absolutely. In that age ourselves, it was not heavy. Yeah. I mean, you have such a disparity in terms of growth and we have early developers, late developers.
You have, you know, it’s where. Start to feel more independence. And a lot of parents who are really hyper involved at the elementary age, once they get to middle school, they start to back off. And so you have some independence and you have some confusion and just trying to figure out who you are, even your sense of style of clothes, all of it.
Middle school is the wackiest time of life. And so that is where we start seeing those things. And the one thing I would say to parents, I think some parents feel like, Well, I don’t know what to do, what do I do about it? But we already know. What to do. We’re just not doing it in the right area. Like for instance, we know that practice is necessary.
We drive our kids to sports practice and piano practice and you know, rehearsal for plays and we, we [00:13:00] quiz ’em on their vocab before their test. And we help them practice their math facts. But then when it comes to inter relational stuff, we don’t practice. We don’t have kids practice that. And the reality is they need practice, you know, role playing with kids, you know, What do you do if someone says something rude or mean to you?
How do you react to that? And let’s talk it through, let’s see how. How we can, you know mm-hmm. , if something negative happened and you had conflict at school, well let’s talk about it and, and, and then practice. What could you say differently or how could you approach it differently? And that’s something that we could build in as parents.
Just like we practice their math facts and we take ’em to soccer practice. We know they’re not gonna get good at something unless they practice. They’re not gonna get good at interpersonal relationships unless they practic. So role playing is a great idea for parents. And I wouldn’t say like be aggressively hostile or reinjure a kid who has their hurt, hurt feelings.
But, you know, okay, I, so I’m Juliana and I just said something mean to you. What, what [00:14:00] could you have said back? Or, you know, And so that’s a practicing and talking through those skills is super important. I think we just think. You know, how we relate to others just happens naturally, but it really doesn’t, it happens with a lot of practice.
So that’s one thing that parents can do that will help in both peer conflict and bullying, but most especially in peer conflict, which is what’s gonna be more pervasive in their lives for sure. Yeah. Nice. What’s really interesting, I’ve never thought about practicing. I mean, we, we do little things. You know, you got in a fight with somebody.
Okay, well what are you gonna say when you see them tomorrow? Like those types of things, but just as a like, but that’s more of a reactive situation, not necessarily proactive. And I think what you’re suggesting is far more proactive. That would help our kids long term, for sure. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. And build confidence.
Mm-hmm. . Those are all such vital tools for young adults, for young kids, for all of us, even as adults. Right. It’s really hard [00:15:00] because especially right now in our time where the last 20 months we’ve been going through this, Unprecedented time where kids are not seeing each other face to face. Now they are, but they went a long period of time without it.
And so relying on our gadgets, on our screens to be able to communicate, oftentimes that’s when the most amount communication happens. And so it’s, it just bringing all of this to the forefront I think is so critical. Well just totally. Well, what, like Claudia said in our last episode was that with, with the pandemic, we’ve, you know, everybody’s worried about the learning gap, but the social gap is even more.
Prominent. And so I think that really goes into play. And I know when kids are feeling frustrated, they do act out. And you might be the kid next to ’em that’s the victim, you know, I don’t, it, it just, I, I think that we are going to see an uptick in, in the peer conflict and in [00:16:00] bullying as well. I think right now, just as kids are learning how to.
Be in the real world again. Right? Because we, they relate to each other so differently through gadgets than they do face to face. And we do and say things through gadgets that we would never do and say face to face. And so as they emerge and start interacting, they’re, they’re out of practice. And I mean, it was a long year and a half, almost two years for me.
50 year old, but if you’re 10, you know, that’s a huge chunk of your life is considering the first five years you barely remember, you know? Mm-hmm. . So they really need to kind of get some practice in re-engaging with each other for sure. Mm-hmm. . And I think part of it too is, Distinguishing helping your young person distinguish between rude behavior and mean behavior, you know, and really understanding the intent.
Cuz I think sometimes people are rude and they don’t necessarily think it’s gonna hurt your feelings or make you angry or cause problems. And not that those feelings aren’t valid, you know, validate. [00:17:00] The first thing we need to do is say, I’m sorry that happened and I’m sorry you got, you know, your feelings were hurt like that and that, that, that would make me feel.
Sad or matter, whatever it is they’re feeling too. Listen, empathetically. But then also kind of look. What the, what the intent was. Does, do you, was that person trying to hurt you or was that person just really not thinking about you and not thinking about the impact of their words? Mm-hmm. , because there is a big difference between dealing with rude behavior and kind of trying to let it roll off you, or, you know, chalk it up to their, they’re in a bad mood, they’re having a bad day, and they’re just kind of blah versus mean and mal intent and.
and also mean even though mal intent is a piece of that bullying definition mean doesn’t have to mean bullying. You can have your best friend be super irritated with you and be mean to you and hurt your feelings, but then two days from now you’re going out and hanging out together because you were doing, you got over it.
So how we deal with mean behavior versus rude behavior and just [00:18:00] really getting them to understand and see the difference of, you know, when people behave that way, maybe they just had a really bad day and they’re just grumpy. Aren’t you over grumpy and say things you don’t necessarily mean, and we don’t have to overreact to every sort of thing that we see as offensive to us.
Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , I have a question. In your expert opinion, do you believe true bullies? Are they bullies to numerous people or do they like pick on the weakest link in their mind? Do they like or are they, is it just like a general. Point of who they are. True people who are exhibiting true bullying behavior generally choose a target.
Okay? And often people who bully are well liked. They have a large friend group they have, and that’s part of why they can behave that way because they do have a, a peer group and a a friend group, and they wouldn’t behave that way to people within their group. It really is, they choose [00:19:00] a weaker, basically, I mean, I hate to say weak.
You know, person, but a, a, a target that they perceive as someone that they can dominate. And they can, and it makes them feel better. It elevates their own self sense of self when they push somebody down, which is a really horrible trait to have. And that’s why those people who are exhibiting that behavior need a lot of support and help too, to.
Work through why that’s happening. Right, Right. But it isn’t it’s very rare that someone who is exhibiting bullying behavior does that to everybody in their life. Okay. And it, it’s, it is very specifically chosen targets. And those targets have lower social capital. They may have something that distinguishes them as different.
You know, huge populations that tend to be singled out for bullying more often people with disabilities, people who are in the LGBTQ community, or people who are perceived as different people who outwardly aren’t conforming to whatever social [00:20:00] norms that person sort of expects of them. So yeah, it, it isn’t a universal, I bully everyone.
Okay. It, it is definitely a targeted sort of behavior. Mm-hmm. . If someone’s just hostile to everyone, that could be other mental health stuff. It doesn’t necessarily mean it could just be a nice person, but it’s not necessarily bullying behavior. . How can parents support a young person that’s going through conflict?
Bullying or peer conflict? Either way, you know, if you’ve, if you’ve dis distinguished that it’s bullying, then definitely say, I’m here to support you and, and you need to reach out if it’s happening at school or happening online. The other thing you have to remember is schools can intervene even when it’s online if the behavior translates to a school campus.
So even if the bullying is happening outside of school, but then, You know that laughter or whatever is brought to school, ha, ha, saw whatever so and so posted about you last night. So schools can [00:21:00] intervene. And then most school districts now have some sort of mental health professionals, be it counselors or mental health therapists or social workers.
You can also reach out to administration. And the first thing you do is affirm your young person, I love you. I’m sorry that this is happening. I’m sorry it’s causing you pain. Let’s start documenting this. Save your screenshots of things if it’s online. Okay? Ask your young person to write down when and where incidents happen because like you said, if, if it is true bullying, there’ll be a pattern of behavior and establishing that pattern for whoever, whatever.
A school administrator or mental health person you’re bringing it to will be helpful. So document affirm and then, and then, you know, work with the, your own person to develop. That’s one thing we need to deal with the actual bullying and then work with your young person about developing resilience.
Do the practicing, do the role playing. Mm-hmm. , you know, talk about. Ask your young person who are your allies? So who’s your go-to [00:22:00] adult on campus? And if your young person doesn’t have a trusted adult on campus, then that’s a problem. Every young needs to have a trusted adult that they can go to. Be it a teacher or a, you know, it could be anybody on campus.
If you say, Well, who are the friends that you can always count on to be there for you, that are always gonna be there for you? And if they can’t, then that’s an issue too. Finding and developing healthy friendships. So identifying the allies. It is hard. I mean, we haven’t talked at all about.
Bystanders or other people getting involved. But it’s very hard, even if that person has an ally for that ally to stick up for them because nobody wants to become the next target. So asking your young person to identify allies, both student allies, peer allies, and then adult allies working with them.
And then if it’s peer conflict, really talk about it. Talk about conflicts you’ve had in your. With coworkers or with friends when you were young, Talk about how, how it resolved or didn’t resolve. Talk [00:23:00] about how you wish you’d handled it. And then literally practice, you know, set up conversations where you say, Okay, let’s say, I mean, for little kids, it could be, I just remember, you know, for a whole year there was this whole tether ball.
Oh, and someone’s not doing ropes, and then it’s yelling at me and cutting in line, blah. You know, and I said, Well, A, do you need to play tether ball? Can’t you go play something else? And then B, if you do wanna play tether ball, let’s practice talking about it. Let’s talk about how you’re gonna address it when this kid comes in and, and wants to take over the game and work through it.
So, you know, something like that. Instead of saying, Oh, my child’s getting bullied at, at the tether ball. You know, it’s really like, okay, this is a, this is an opportunity for growth and Right. Let’s resolve the conflict. And if you can’t, then guess what? You should maybe play basketball instead. You know, I mean, it works through it.
Practice, discuss and always affirm you can affirm their feelings without. Agreeing. So if your child says, I’m being bullied at school because my best friend won’t [00:24:00] sit with me anymore and she wants to play with somebody else, you don’t have to lead with, Well, that’s not actually bullying. You lead with
I love you and I’m sorry that this is hurting your feelings, but let’s talk about that, you know, and, and right, and kind of guide the discussion. You know, Megan, you bring up such great points there and, and opportunities for us as parents to, to truly address these things at home. The reality being said, it may not be getting addressed at home.
So our poor teachers, I, I can’t imagine putting something else on their. They’re plates of also, not only do you have to worry about all these academic lessons that our kids are behind on, but also keep in mind there’s this piece too. Mm-hmm. . But it, it is so important that we don’t, we’re not quick to judge.
And like I said earlier, just deciphering and looking at this objectively. Because mm-hmm. , when you mention having an ally at [00:25:00] school, Well, if the hot points of a student getting bullied is sixth grade, they’re brand new. Mm-hmm. at a brand new location or, or ninth grade, they’re brand new. So as it just being proactive I think is also what you’re getting at is, is just knowing ahead of.
Who are your allies and, and even though things may change, just knowing that there is someone on campus that can help and be your safe zone. Absolutely. That’s, that’s a really good point. That’s, I think that that point about them being new and not really knowing they built on campus is really key cuz it takes a while to develop trust and figure.
Who the adults are, you can trust. But at least, I mean, I can’t tell you, I worked at a high school for a very long time, and I can’t tell you how many times I would have an 11th grade student in my class that needed, you know, an issue dealt with. And I would say, Well, who’s your counselor? And they would say, I don’t know.
You know, because they, they had never found out. They had never gone to see their counselor. Never needed it. Never [00:26:00] needed it, you know. If I’m the parent of an incoming sixth grader to a new middle school or an incoming ninth grader, that’s one of the things I’m gonna discuss with them ahead of time. This person, this name, this is your counselor, and the, the counselor’s not gonna reach out to every student that’s on their caseload.
You know, I don’t know about everywhere, but I know here you know, it could be five, 600 kids on a caseload, but. Having the young person know that person’s name and know that they can go to that person if something happens. It may not yet be a trusted relationship, but at least it’s a point person. It’s a name.
So looking it up, looking it up with your incoming ninth grader or your incoming sixth grader, this is your counselor. If you have any sort of issues, you know, academic or personal or social, this is the person you can go to until they have those trusted bonds. It’s such a good point. I really appreciate that you brought that up.
I didn’t think about that. So cool. That’s it is there’s so much that they have to, you know, during those transitional periods in their little lives, going to a new school, [00:27:00] you know, where, where do you start? And I always push my kids. The librarian is always a very nice person. , go to the library if you’re struggling, go to the library.
Yes. Yeah, so those so true. A calm place. It’s a good calm place. I also wanna just I know I’ve mentioned this book in previous podcasts but it, it’s Parenting with love and logic and a lot of what Megan was describing is in that book as well as you are parenting and how to deal with conflicts with your children and helping your children navigate their own conflicts.
It, seriously, it’s, it’s, I did not read parenting. But I did read that one, so I don’t have a lot to judge it against, but I can say it was, it was such a life changing book for me in my experience. I was the youngest in my family, so I didn’t have any of that type of experience. So when I started having kids, I was kind of in over my head.
And then to have one that’s extremely strong [00:28:00] willed was, you know, it was a challenge. , she just turned around. Yeah. She didn’t hear in the room with me, so she heard. But that book really truly did it. It made a huge difference for me. And so a lot of what Megan was referring to, just. . Any parents who are are struggling with this, I would, was struggling with anything in terms of parenting.
I would recommend that book. Parenting With Love and Logic. They also have a blog, a website, all that good stuff. I follow them on Facebook. Even, even now as an my kids are basically adults. I still really listen to a lot of what they say cause it’s just it’s good in life too. It just talks about personal responsibility and I think a lot of times when our kids are having some sort of pure conflict, we wanna solve it.
You know, we don’t want our kids to feel pain. We don’t want our kids to be upset or upset. But with parenting, with love and logic, it’s really teaching them how to take that ownership and take that responsibility cuz so in the short term, yeah, it’s gonna be harder on the kid, but in the long [00:29:00] term they’re gonna be better people Yes.
And more equipped to handle the world. And so and build resilience. Yes. So much. And, and deal with people, you know, and how, how to interact with others and And then it is so important, as it may was saying, to have the role playing and to talk to them about the natural consequences and just to learn how to navigate these fields.
You know? It’s just, Yeah. Another thing I think it’s important for us to, to be able to discern with our kids. How do you, how do you explain to them and teach them even at a younger age, the difference between peer conflict and bullying? Because bullying has become such a catch phrase that, you know, your six year old comes home, I was bullied at school, the alarms are going off.
Oh my gosh, my kids being bullied. But when you get down to it, you know, they’re, they’re vernacular is just not correct. Mm-hmm. . So how do we. How do we change that conversation and get people to really understand the difference? Yeah. Well, and I, I do, I think it’s a [00:30:00] complex thing, but some, some of it’s very simple.
We don’t say to kids, I mean, we go through their weekly spelling words and vocabulary, but, you know, make a vocabulary list. These are some words I, I, I wanna explain. Conflict is when you and your friend or you and someone in your class don’t agree on something and you may be not being nice to each other, and you get into either an argument or you know, a, a bad discussion.
You know, that’s conflict and that’s gonna happen throughout our lives and we gotta work through it. You know, bullying or harassment is when someone is, is over and over again, picking on you for no reason and, and hurting you either physically or emotionally. And, and even little kids can understand the difference between, I’m in a fight with my.
Versus this, this person who I’m scared of is constantly saying and doing things that are hurting me physically or mentally or emotionally. Mm. Even at a young age. And so putting [00:31:00] that in into their vocabulary so that they can understand. And then, and then teaching them. You know, when I work with young people, part of what I talk about is, you know, a conflict can be a small fire that started.
And then what do we do about that? How do we put that fire out rather than get that fire to grow bigger? And so, you know, even working in second, third grade classrooms, they can, they can explain actions that will add fire to the, to the conflict and actions that will put it out. They’re, they’re very, They are very knowing about that, I know that if mm-hmm.
if someone yells it at me and I yell back, that’s adding fire and we talk about that. Sure. Putting it out versus adding it. So I know that it takes a little bit more on the outset and, you know, we are exhausted. Parenting is exhausting right now. Teaching is exhausting right now. Anything within this educational world is really exhausting right now.
But putting in a little time lead time in having these discussions prior to things [00:32:00] happening or, you know, and, and having kids before they. Before they explode on you all the details of why they were bullied, having them write it out, or if they’re a little kid, having them draw it out, Okay, draw what happened.
And that gives them that time to kind of calm and think. Even a teacher in the classroom that comes back from recess and has three kids that run up and wanna say Why so and so with bullying, so and so have them draw it out, have them write it out, and that that kind of clears their head, lowers the emotions, gets their, their, you know, Out or drawings, if they can’t, if they’re, you know, pre literate.
And then you can go back to it and let’s look at this drawing, or let’s look at your list of what happened and talk about it and figure out is this bullying, is this conflict and how to deal with it. Sometimes when it’s pure conflict, a kid, all they really need is for someone to say, I’m sorry that happened.
That didn’t feel very good. And to be heard. They just need to hear, you know, that that’s really terrible that that happened and I’m, I’m sorry, and I hope it goes better next recess. And that might be enough, you know? And if it is something [00:33:00] that needs to be worked through, then they can, you know, take the next steps.
But building that vocabulary ahead of time. Identifying when, when the kid is in the crisis, you know, what’s causing this and where is it coming from will all help to lead to a better outcome, whether it’s bullying or peer conflict. So many great insights, Megan, and, and going back, Allison, that the Book of Love and Lo Parenting with Love and Logic, it provides such a great foundation along with these tools that you’re providing with us today.
Megan, it’s so insightful, cause like, There’s, it’s just so overwhelming and you just wanna help your children get through this and, and just being able to have. These opportunities to talk through it, I think is, is, mm-hmm. really a great beginning, great stand. And, and I have, there’s a few websites that I will give you to put in your, Oh, fantastic.
Pacer.org has some great videos for young people and parents. Stop [00:34:00] bullying.gov has some great resources and videos. Sometimes it feels overwhelming if you think I have to read a whole bunch or I have to learn a whole bunch. But those have little tidbits and some really good quick videos that can help too.
So I’ll give you some the links to those. Awesome. Oh, that’d be great. Thank you so much. And we’ll put the link up for the book as well. Cause I couldn’t, can’t say enough about that one. That one for sure. Megan, thank you so much for your time today. It’s been so insightful and I just, I really enjoy having your expertise on this podcast.
I know our listeners really appreciate your, your incredible brain as well, . Thank you so much. It was so much fun talking with you and I always learned something when I talk to you too, so I’m just excited. Thank you, Megan. Thanks for being here. Yes, thank you. Thank you so much for listening to Learning Reimagined.
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