When was the last time you heard or said a kind word to someone? All too often we are surrounded by thoughtless words - from throwaway social media comments to politicians berating one another on live TV. Being unkind has almost become a part of the fabric of our daily lives. It is quick and easy for both adults and children alike to make derogatory remarks, but how much could we improve our lives and the lives of people around us by using just one kind word?
One Kind Word is the theme for anti-bullying week this year which runs from 15th to 19th November. It is a time of reflection for students in schools, but perhaps it would benefit us all to take the time to consider how we use our words and how they affect people around us.
In 2020, one in five of 10-15 year olds surveyed said they had experienced online bullying and two in five children in the same age group experienced bullying in person. Bullying will affect children in a myriad of ways - their self esteem may plummet as can their achievement in school. Bullying can affect mental-health and make children feel that they are in an endless cycle of bullying thereby increasing their own negative thoughts and feelings. All parents will worry at some point that their child is, or could become, a victim of bullying. Keeping communication channels open and involving your child in making decisions about what steps you should take is important. Responding to bullying can range from empowering them with the right reactions when they hear offensive language, to knowing when teachers and parents need to be involved. By working through various scenarios with your child, you can give them the confidence to react to bullying and allow them to respond in the right way.
Anti-bullying week this year is not solely based on stopping bullying in its tracks, but rather proactively being kind and thoughtful to everyone around us. One Kind Word encourages us all to make more positive connections with friends and strangers and it is something that can be done in school as well as at home. Small acts of kindness can improve the day of everyone in our communities. You could discuss as a family what you perceive to be simple acts of kindness - perhaps listening and showing respect when another person is talking, checking in on a friend or family member who might be feeling sad or lonely, sharing a meal together, volunteering or even something as simple as posting a kind comment on social media. As a family, you could make a pledge to show one act of kindness each day over anti-bullying week with the aim of it spilling into your everyday life long after the week is over.
Stopping hateful remarks and hurtful acts in the world is a daunting task, but being kind to the people around us is a simple and achievable one. So this anti-bullying week, let's all say at least One Kind Word and brighten the day of all those we spend time with.
For more information and advice for parents about bullying, take a look at these websites:
Qualified Teachers. Quality Grades. KS1 to A-Level.