How a witness becomes a participant in bullying

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How a witness becomes a participant in bullying

A lot of parents will tell their kids to be neutral when they see bullying, to not get involved. But I want you to think about that in a different way. If your child does nothing when they see bullying going on, what it says to everybody else is that your child is powerless or that they're siding with the kid who is being abusive to the other child. And the other part is, it's saying to your own child, you have no power in this situation or stay out of it when it doesn't involve you. Then we complain and get really upset when nobody gets involved and helps anybody else when there's a conflict. So what I really want you to think about as a parent is, what can your child do in that moment, where they're not putting themselves in harms way but that they are actually doing something concrete that makes the situation better. So what that means is, that at the very least your child can take the other child and say, we're going over here and going down the hallway. They can distract the bully. They can even stand up to the bully and say, "over the line". Things that are quick, super short. They don't have to go through this long explanation of why it's wrong but just to stay "stop" or "over the line" actually does a lot to change the dynamics. But to say to your child, "stay out of it", really send the message that unless it's involving you, then you don't need to do anything. Our community safety is really about reaching out to each other and supporting each other, and that's the moment concretely when you teach your child to do it.

See Rosalind Wiseman 's video on How a witness becomes a participant in bullying...


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Rosalind Wiseman

Author & Educator

Rosalind Wiseman is an internationally recognized expert on children, teens, parenting, bullying, social justice, and ethical leadership. Rosalind is the author of Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World, the groundbreaking, fully-revised edition of her bestselling book that was the basis for the movie Mean Girls. Her follow-up book, Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads, addresses the social hierarchies and conflicts among parents and is now being made into a major motion picture by New Line Cinema. In 2010, Rosalind published the  young adult novel Boys, Girls, & Other Hazardous Materials, which was recognized by the American Library Association as one of their Most Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults.  She is now writing a set of companion books for boys and their parents, scheduled for publication in the Fall of 2013. In addition, Rosalind has written the Owning Up Curriculum, a comprehensive social justice program for grades 6-12 which is in widespread use across the country.  She writes the monthly “Ask Rosalind” column in Family Circle magazine, and is regular contributor to several blogs and websites. Also, Rosalind is a spokesperson for LG’s Text-Education Council that aims to inform parents about responsible monitoring of teen cell phone usage. Each year Rosalind works with tens of thousands of students, educators, parents, counselors, coaches, and administrators to create communities based on the belief that each person has a responsibility to treat themselves and others with dignity. In 2011, she was one of the principal speakers at the White House Summit on Bullying.  Other audiences have included the American School Counselors Association, International Chiefs of Police, American Association of School Administrators, and countless schools throughout the U.S. and abroad. National media regularly depends on Rosalind as the expert on ethical leadership, media literacy, and bullying prevention.  She is a consultant for Cartoon Network’s Speak Up, Stop Bullying campaign. She is a frequent guest on the Today Show, Anderson Cooper 360 and Dateline.  She has been profiled in The New York Times, People, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, USA Today, Oprah, Nightline, CNN, Good Morning America, and National Public Radio affiliates throughout the country. Rosalind holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Occidental College. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and two sons.

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