Junior high age boy being bullied at schoolWhen your child or grandchild comes home from school with hurt feelings because of the words or actions of other children, it breaks your heart. As you watch them fight back the tears as they tell you their story with a shaky voice, you want to wrap your arms around them and protect them from all hurt. It may also make you want to march down to the school and confront the bully, but that is usually not the best idea.
National Bullying Prevention Month is a campaign founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. The campaign, held throughout October, is a nationwide call to action to educate communities about their role in bullying prevention. In the past, bullying was seen as “a childhood rite of passage” that “made kids tougher.” However, the reality is that bullying can have devastating and long-term effects, such as increased anxiety, a loss of self-esteem, and depression for those bullied.
The effects of bullying can range from depression and anxiety to low self-esteem and avoidance of school. Bullying takes many forms. Currently, one in four students will be bullied, and one in three will be cyberbullied, according to the Monique Burr Foundation for Children.
We know that bullying may never be eradicated, but we can promote a culture of kindness and inclusion to decrease the occurrences. What we once might have dismissed as teasing is not just teasing if the recipient is being hurt emotionally or physically. Once we recognize bullying behavior, it must be addressed immediately. Resources are available, such as the Monique Burr Foundation for Children’s Bullying Prevention Toolkit, and the National Bullying Prevention Center’s Build Community Kit. These tools help adults and children recognize bullying and provide solutions to the bully.

Don’t give in to bullying or others making fun of people. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for your friends.
Be that one person who is genuinely good-hearted.

-Michelle McCool

Recently, I wrote a book, Ellie the Brave, Bald Fairy, to not only be a comfort and inspiration to children with cancer but also to help other children understand what a classmate who feels or looks different is going through. I wanted to share the message that we all should accept and celebrate our differences. This type of compassion and understanding needs to be modeled and taught to young children.
Let’s dedicate October to modeling kind behavior and taking every opportunity to teach children to take the time to show they care when a friend or classmate is hurting emotionally or physically. We also need to teach them to stand up to bullying and to intervene when they see bullying behavior.
My new book, Ellie the Brave, Bald Fairy, is ready for pre-orders! My publisher will release it on November 14, 2023, and I’m so excited for you all to see it. For a sneak peek, visit the Ellie the Brave, Bald Fairy website!