Bullying in school has been seen as something ‘normal’ for adolescents to experience, but what if bullying didn’t have to be a ‘normal’ part of growing up? In the state of Indiana, 18.7% of students have reported bullying, but the actual numbers are more than likely higher, since incidents of bullying often go unreported.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month
The most effective way to decrease the number of students who experience bullying is to prevent it from happening in the first place. This starts by teaching young people about empathy and kindness. Empathy is the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling.
Here are some ways to help teach youth about empathy:
- Identify and share feelings: When youth can identify feelings in themselves, it’s easier for them to understand those feelings in others.
- Encourage youth to see other perspectives: When youth are challenged to see life from other points of view, it helps build empathy and put them into the shoes of those who might get bullied frequently at school (youth with special needs, youth who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, etc.).
- Weave acts of kindness into empathy: Once youth can identify feelings and see other’s perspectives, it will be easier for them to show acts of kindness to others, especially those who might be in a bullying situation.
According to some studies, teaching youth about empathy not only helps prevent bullying, but can also improve relationships and school performance.
To learn more about how to teach youth about empathy, or for more information about bullying prevention, visit the links below: