By: Deborah Thorpe, PT, PhD
I would say, “Have you ever been pushed on purpose or been called a hurtful name? Have you ever been made fun of because of who you are or the way you act or look? Then you have been bullied! A bully tries to make other children feel bad about themselves, but really the bully must be the one who feels bad if they want to hurt someone else. If you are being bullied, it is important to tell your teachers and your parents. They can make the bully stop hurting you. Remember we are all special and being nice to one other is the right way to treat everyone."
A great activity in which to engage your child is to develop an art activity or community engagement project that emphasizes being nice to others. Children celebrating differences, and families and communities creating inclusive environments should become the norm. For younger children it might be a poster to hang in their room that reminds them to play nice when on a play date. For older children, an activity might be to design a t-shirt that they can have printed and wear to declare their positive views on inclusion and anti-bullying. Starting early to expose and celebrate the differences that exist among us will go a long way to foster tolerance and inclusion in years to come.
It is never too early to learn that being nice to others is a powerful feeling! For more resources on anti-bullying, please visit www.antibullying.net and http://nobullying.com/count-me-in/.
About the Author: Deborah Thorpe, PT, PhD, has been a pediatric physical therapist, academician and researcher for 25 years. Her research focuses on fitness, physical activity, and health promotion for persons with cerebral palsy (CP) across the lifecourse.