Incidents of bullying are often apparent in middle and high school aged students.
Schools and social workers are also pushing parents to teach their children about bullying—before they become involved in difficult situations.
Speaking on WFIU’s Noon Edition, Monroe County Community School Corporation Director of Student Services Becky Rose says bullying doesn’t just apply to teenagers.
“The younger that we can start teaching kids these skills the better,” she says. “In the schools we most definitely do have some programs where we try to teach social skills and to help with that emotional intelligence.”
Rose says young students who are having trouble early on can benefit from social skills groups in elementary school.
But IU School of Social Work instructor Gary Plaford says parents don’t have to wait until their kids are in school to start showing them how other children can be affected by their actions. Plaford says parents can also use everyday activities as teaching tools.
“We have opportunities all the time because children watch movies and they read books and we can talk about those,” he says. “We can talk about the plot what happened, but we also can talk about the emotions of the characters. What was this character feeling? Why do you think they were feeling that?”
Plaford says teaching kids to recognize other children’s emotions helps them manage their own feelings and build better relationships. He says that could ultimately prevent bullying before it starts.