Updated: Jun 23
Producing a society where less people are bullied will not happen overnight. It is an intentional process that requires the cultivation of temperance, tolerance, and tact within the next generation.
Developing these 3 traits in youth starts long before their senior year in high school. For example, temperance (i.e. self-restraint) can be nurtured as early as 2 years old by disciplining consciously and carefully. When non-negotiable guidelines and appropriate consequences are reinforced, children are able to better associate their choices with outcomes, and learn personal responsibility. For Parent Power Pointers on how to discipline without damaging, CLICK HERE.
Not only must parents help grow temperance in their children’s hearts, but we also must guard it. Addiction sells, and many companies become big businesses off of humans who lack self-restraint. From the ingredients in our food, to the algorithms in our technology, to the images in our media - most products and services are cleverly designed to create repeat consumers or at best addicts. By implementing healthy defenses such as access controls, time constraints, and limitations parents can support their children’s mental health. For Parent Power Pointers on how to curb addictive tendencies in your child, CLICK HERE.
Another pattern of behavior that goes against mainstream society is tolerance - the ability to be considerate toward others who possess differing viewpoints, perspectives, associations, beliefs, lifestyle choices, and convictions. From trolling on social media, to setting communities ablaze, to defacing historic landmarks and artistic masterpieces, young people are now using bullying tactics when they dislike a person, disagree with a verdict, or become disgruntled with policy. Independent thinking, civil discourse, and diplomacy have been replaced with mob mentality, manipulation, and defamation. To counteract this dangerous trend, parents (and educators alike) must use their influence to foster objectivity, respectfulness, and authentic kindness. One of the best environments to discuss opposing views will always include good food. When parents make gathering at the dinner table a daily routine, misconceptions, stereotypes, and generalizations that children have been exposed to can be addressed and corrected in a safe space.
Encouraging cultural diversity is also critical when teaching tolerance. How can children learn to demonstrate genuine appreciation for all if everyone in their peer group reflects them? Parents can help dismantle these silos by building their own friendships based on character not color, and by creating opportunities for their children to do the same. Instead of associating on the shallow basis of class and race, connect through shared values and interests. For Parent Power Pointers on how to foster tolerance at home CLICK HERE.
If one lacks tolerance, he or she will most likely lack tact - the ability of knowing what to sincerely say or do to not intentionally offend others. This trait involves empathy, which is best acquired through an emotionally safe parent. When a child experiences a home where the thoughts and feelings of everyone are valued (including their own), they will naturally care about the thoughts and feelings of others outside the home. On the other hand, when the climate of the home becomes a battlefield, children will more often than not develop into adults who possess overly aggressive behavior and/or a victim complex. Training children to be mindful of how their attitude and actions affect the whole starts with how they are respected by the adults in their lives. For Parent Power Pointers on how to be an emotionally safe parent CLICK HERE.
Attacking the bullying culture not only changes how we raise our children, but it also compels us to reflect on how its presence has personally influenced the way we interact with others. In the next blog, you will find out how to tell if you have bully tendencies as well as what to do when a bully has targeted you.