No Name-Calling: Words Have Power
Words have power. What we say, how we say it and who we say it to all have meaning. One of the worst things you can do is to name-call; which is a form of bullying. The second to last week of January is No Name-Calling Week, which is in an effort to reduce the amount of bullying found in schools, in person and online. It is important to help your child understand what bullying is and what they can do if they are bullied or see others being bullied. All kids involved in bullying – whether they are bullied, bully others or see bullying – can be affected.
What Harm Is Name-Calling?
Name-calling can lead victims to:
- Depression, anxiety, feelings of sadness and isolation
- Health issues
- Decreased desire in activities, decreased academic achievement
Name-calling can lead bystanders to:
- Increased mental health issues such as anxiety and depression
- Potential for missing or skipping school
- Avoidance of confrontation
Name-calling others can lead bullies to:
- Engage in violent and risky behaviors
- More likely to turn to alcohol, tobacco and drug use
- Get into fights, vandalize property
- Engage in early sexual activity
Name-Calling and Cyberbullying
Name-calling can often show up online and can sometimes be harder to spot for parents. Some of the signs your child may be involved cyberbullying include:
- Noticeable increases or decreases in device use, including texting.
- A child exhibits emotional responses (laughter, anger, upset) to what is happening on their device.
- A child hides their screen or device when others are near, and avoids discussion about what they are doing on their device.
- Social media accounts are shut down or new ones appear.
- A child starts to avoid social situations, even those that were enjoyed in the past.
- A child becomes withdrawn or depressed, or loses interest in people and activities.
No Name-Calling: Tips For Parents
One of the best ways to prevent name-calling is by opening up the conversation with your kids to encourage validation of feelings and encourage them to report bullying to trusted adults. If you feel your child is being bullied in any way, treat the school as your ally and establish a plan for dealing with future bullying incidents. If you feel your child is being a bully to others, try to get to the root of the problem. Talk with your children to open up the lines of communication and foster a relationship of talking openly. Again, treat the school as your ally to establish an effective way to handle the bullying and name-calling. Talking with your children now about name-calling and bullying can help you establish and develop healthy communication for the future.