Social abuse or bullying, takes its toll on kids. Some children barely remember a bully encounter, for others, bullying shapes their lives for decades, even a lifetime. Constant bullying can greatly diminish a child’s self-worth and often has much deadlier results than a few hurt feelings. Kids’ church must be a safe place where kids can learn about God’s love and experience it. Fellowship and worship without fear of bullying are crucial. A bully-free kids’ church is the ideal environment for children. Don’t assume that your ministry is bully free. Take proactive steps to deal with bullying.
How to Create a Bully Free Church
Recognize it. First, refuse to treat the matter of bullying as a “normal occurrence.” Saying, “Boys will be boys,” does not promote a bully free zone. Here are a few more pointers to remember.
Talk about bullying. Start a dialogue about acceptance. Remind kids of the Golden Rule, in fact, incorporating it regularly into your kids curriculum will make a big difference. When you encounter bullying, deal with it tactfully. Don’t embarrass kids, even the ones displaying the bad behavior. Remember that kids who get bullied, often demonstrate that behavior later. You are probably witnessing a negative cycle, possible a generational issue.
Post no-bullying signs. Signs like no-bully signs remind kids that bullying is not permitted on the premises. Signs also assure children who have experienced this kind of behavior previously that your ministry is a safe place.
Supervise your kids. Bullying usually happens when grown ups are nowhere around. It is so important to have enough adults to monitor the children as they interact. Talk to your volunteers about dealing with bullying. Explain that they should let you know about instances and remind them to avoid embarrassing anyone but to deal with the behavior immediately.
Encourage responsibility. When bullying does occur, encourage the kids to take responsibility, especially in the case of physical confrontations or if property is damaged. The best way to reverse bullying behavior is to confront it.
Have a healing mindset. Banish the bully behavior but keep a healing mindset when you encounter instances of bullying. Because of our own experiences, it may be tempting to get defensive, even protective of your children but expand your ministry beyond the immediate cessation of bullying. Healing, for everyone, should be the goal. You’ll have to engage parents and grandparents on this subject for real success.
Read more from Mimi by visiting her website at Encouragement for Christians.