Putting the focus on empathy and kindness can go a long way towards stopping bullying behaviour in its tracks!

It’s everywhere, it starts young and it affects us all. As we see how our own interactions affect those around us, dealing with bullying by fostering empathy and kindness in our own hearts and homes is a necessity.

Bullying takes on many forms, for example, online bullying. This form of bullying is not only anonymous, but also easy and ‘safe’ for the bully. Any form of bullying can be fatal, as reflected by the startling suicides statistics. It requires our full attention, as we try to safeguard our children.

What if part of the solution lies in advocating and modelling kindness and empathy?

In society, too often the focus is on values such as ‘being the best’ whereby we subconsciously communicate to our children that their worth lies in what they accomplish – and that there are two groups of people: winners and losers. These values only teach our children to form social hierarchy groups in their heads about ‘winners’ and ‘losers’, of ‘them’ versus ‘us’ which does nothing for the development of crucial interpersonal skills such as empathy and kindness.

What’s more, research indicates that emotionally and socially equipped adults fare much better in life in general, than the ones who just came first in 100 meter races, or won the maths trophy, or who played a mean game of rugby.

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7 Powerful pointers

  1. Help your child be aware of the similarities he or she shares with others
  2. Help him celebrate and accommodate the differences between people
  3. Be a spokesperson for kindness and empathy
  4. Create opportunities for your child to practice these values
  5. Reward your child’s kindness and empathy
  6. Don’t allow any form of sarcasm to enter your front door
  7. What about starting a weekly club or get-together? Such as knitting, scrap-booking or movie reviewing.

Putting the focus on empathy and kindness can go a long way towards stopping bullying behaviour in its tracks!