Has bullying touched your home? Perhaps your child has come home in tears because he’s been the victim, or maybe she’s disturbed because a teammate is being bullied.
In this weeks post by Jessica Kane of SteelLocker Sports, she shares 5 weapons for parents and coaches to use in fighting the war against bullying.
Where kids gather, bullying often occurs. It can happen during school or after school in sports. Here are a few weapons you can use to fight the war against bullying.
Acknowledge The Problem
Do not ignore bullying or pretend that it doesn’t exist. That only makes it worse. Make others aware–coaches, captains, parents, and administrators–so that practical solutions can be reached. If your child comes to you to talk about bullying, don’t minimize it or ignore it because you don’t want to get involved, show your child what courage looks like and make others aware of the problem too.
Call A Team Meeting
If you are the coach,call a team meeting–and if you’re a parent, ask your coach to do this–and face the bullying head on. Coaches should share what they’ve observed and heard, then let the team speak. It’s important for adults to make this a safe place where kids feel free to share if they’ve been victims. And it’s important for the kids to know that the coach is aware of what is going on.
There’s a good chance,however, that kids won’t open up in front of others, so the coach should encourage kids to come talk to him in private if they’ve been bullied. The important outcome here is that the kids know the coach is aware of what’s going on.
Focus On Team Building
Bullying can tear a team apart and not only does it destroy relationships, it also can affect the overall performance of the athletes. Therefore, coaches should find ways to boost team spirit. Building team unity is another weapon in the arsenal against bullying.
One team building exercise is to have everyone on the team write one positive thing that they like about each person on the team. Another way is to do “put-ups” at the end of each game. A put-up is when a team member acknowledges another team mate for something positive they did during the game.
Talk About Consequences
Make it known that bullying will not be tolerated on your team. Bullies will be disciplined! Coaches can cut back playing time, issue a game suspension, or even cut them from the team.
According to a recent article in Active, approximately half of the students who participate in sports have been victims of bullying. If coaches and parents are going to stop this epidemic, strong consequences are necessary.
Keep Open The Lines Of Communication
You may win the battle of bullying on your child’s team, but the war against it still rages. It will crop up again when you least expect it, so always be on the lookout for it. Make sure your kids know that they can talk to you or to the coach; it is not a problem they must deal with alone. Getting kids to acknowledge it and talk about it are your biggest weapons in handling the bullying war.
Jessica Kane is a writer for SteelLocker Sports. A leading provider of sporting goods and training programs for coaches, players, parents and institutions with a primary focus on youth sports. Sponsored by SteelLocker Sports.