Should children do as we say and not as we do?
We, adults – parents, teachers, role-models, etc. are responsible for role-modeling peaceful behavior for children. Modeling appropriate behavior is a vital and necessary component of effective conflict education.
What Beliefs and Attitudes of the Role-Model Reduce Bullying
Who we are, what we think, and what we believe is revealed through our words and behavior. If we buy into the adage that “boys will be boys,” because we see boys fighting our words and behavior will reflect our willingness to accept a certain amount of bullying, fighting, or stereotypical behavior. If we have prejudices, they will be apparent. Everything we say and do provides the foundation for children’s belief systems and attitudes.
Sometimes, we are not even conscious of what we do believe. Often, until we find ourselves reacting to a situation we feel strongly about, we don’t really know that we have bought into a stereotype, a prejudice, or an attitude that limits us. Only when we become self-aware can we change our attitudes and beliefs to reflect the image we want our children to model. We can use all the curricula, books, sing-along peace tapes, and words we want to teach children how to live peacefully, but if our words and behavior send a different message, children will be confused. They are more likely to do what we do, rather than what we say.
Reduce bullying by choosing to be a positive, self-aware role-model that encourages attitudes that accept differences in others.