The Best Defense Against Bullying: Arming Your Kids With Stories

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

This is a super post from  Founder and executive director, LitWorld & LitLife; author; literacy and education expert and advocate in The Huffington Post about using stories as a way to help children deal with bullying.

“A few years ago, I received a call from a mother in my community. Her voice breaking, she asked me if I could help her. Her son, she said, was involved in a bullying episode, and she was wondering if I had any titles I could share of books that might help them through the situation. I launched earnestly into a helpful list of powerful titles, and ended with an expression of my heartfelt empathy for her and her son. There was an awkward silence on the other end of the line, and then the woman said: “I’m not sure if you understood me. It was not that my son is being bullied, it’s that he is the bully.”

I was momentarily taken aback, for she was right: I did assume he was the victim. But then I thought about it, and realized these titles I’d given her were every bit as important for the bullyer as for the bullied. Exposure to great literature can change everyone.

Reading builds resilience and empathy.  The act of reading brings the gifts of stories that have the power to change a child’s perception, help a child deal with uncomfortable situations, and model different options for being strong in the world.

Childhood can be a profoundly lonely experience. Whether it’s walking to school wishing for a friend, or sitting by oneself on the bus or dreading the endless minutes in the cafeteria, our children need fortification. Sometimes their own feelings of shame and confusion lead them to want to dominate others……..

A spoonful of sugar was Mary Poppins’ prescription for pain. Mine is to read aloud to children, each and every day, from books that not only teach the lessons of managing those challenging terrains but give hope and inspiration in the darkest times.

Here are my top choices in The Huffington Post

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