We all dread the day our babies come home from school with emotional wounds. For parents, these are much more difficult boo-boos to heal in comparison to the physical ones where we can slap on a band-aid and heal with a kiss. For most of us, seeing our children teased, excluded or bullied triggers our own painful experiences from childhood. Seriously, why are kids so mean? If we truly want a kinder world, parents and teachers need to explicitly teach the concepts of inclusion and empathy.
When our own children bully, it is even more important that we do our job to help them understand what bullying is and get to work teaching them better ways to feel safe and secure. Luckily, by the time my preschooler encountered his first bully at school, we had already embarked on the topic with my favorite bullying awareness books: Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell, Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, and The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney.
The Best Books to Prepare Children for Bullies
Because my son and I had read these books countless times, we could identify that the little boy who was bulling him was a lot like the bullies in our books: Ronald Durkin, Victoria and the troll under the bridge. We were able to pick up on a previous conversation about how bullies actually feel insecure and scared.
In the Mighty Books & Brains learning module, Stand up to Bullies, we act out The Three Billy Goats Gruff. My kids love putting on the biggest Billy Goat’s mask and saying confidently, “TRY IF YOU DARE!” to the troll. We also discuss what to do when we see someone bullying.
We also discussed how some friendships take time and develop slowly. Some people need more time to open up and trust others. Tell your child to keep shining their bright light. Yes, it might blind some at first, but eventually, their eyes will adjust.
Believe in yourself and the world will believe in you, too.”Molly Lou Melon’s Grandma
And picture books are not just for children. Not wasting time on friendships that drain us (more than they contribute to our awesomeness) is a lifelong lesson. Imagine if we could give our children a little bit more guidance earlier on. What if they didn’t waste an ounce of energy thinking bullies are cool, powerful, or terrifying? Imagine what the world would be like if we raised a bully-proof generation of kind, courageous hearts.