October is Bullying Prevention Month and we want to encourage you to do your part to counteract bullying by being an Upstander instead of a bystander.
What is an Upstander?
An UPSTANDER is defined as someone who recognizes when something is wrong and acts to make it right. When we stand up for what is right, and do our best to help support and protect someone who is being hurt, we are being socially responsible (linkedin.com).
How being an Upstander can prevent bullying.
In order to be an Upstander a person must act. An Upstander will stand up and engage in a behavior if they see something that is not right. For some people, being an Upstander means directly intervening when you see another person being bullied; however, some people are not equipped to step in and directly stop bullying from happening. People who do not have the skillset to stop a bully can still be an Upstander. If someone is being victimized by a bully an Upstander can reach out to that person to ensure that they are okay. The Upstander can let the person who is being bullied know that they see what is happening and that they recognize that what that person is experiencing is not okay. The Upstander should also reach out to a trusted adult if they see anything that make them uncomfortable.
How can parents encourage their child to be an Upstander?
- Talk to him or her about the importance of not being an audience. If your child sees bullying taking place, whether it be in person or online, it is important that he or she does not encourage the person who is bullying by being a spectator. If it is safe your child can step in and confront the bully, but if they are not comfortable doing so they should remove themselves from the situation and find a trusted adult.
- Urge your child to approach the target of the bullying and offer their support. It is a powerful act to let the victim know that they are not alone.
- Speak openly and often about your views on bullying. Talk about people in the news, in movies or other media who are Upstanders or who promote kindness.
- Ask your child if they have ever seen a friend or classmate being bullied. Ask them how they responded to the situation and help them role play how they will respond if they witness someone being bullied in the future.
- Ask your child if they have ever seen someone be an Upstander. Talk to them about what that looked like.
- Let you child know that you are a safe adult to come to if they see someone who is being bullied. It is important that your child know that you are a trusted resource in their life and that they can always come to you when they see something or are experiencing something that makes them feel uneasy.