How can I get my child talking about WITS and peer conflict?
When it comes to talking to your child about peer conflict and victimization, once is not enough. Children need multiple opportunities to process information and apply new understandings. Sitting your child down once for a “bullying talk” will not be as effective as initiating ongoing discussions about strategies to resolve conflicts.
A Closer Look: How to start the conversation
Watch this video to observe how one family discusses conflict, bullying and WITS strategies. Next, explore the ideas below to learn how to start a conversation with your children:
- Share your story: Children may be reluctant to share their experiences because they believe their situation is unique, shameful or unimportant. They may think adults can’t understand or help. Hearing a story about your experience with peer conflict or victimization may get your child talking about his or her own encounters. Share a story about how you were teased or left out as a child. What did you do? Did it work? Who helped you?
- Read a book: The WITS Programs are literature-based, providing lesson plans for more than 30 popular children’s books. Read a WITS book with your child and use some of the lesson plan questions to start a conversation. What WITS or LEADS strategies did the characters use to deal with conflict? Did the book remind you of anything similar that has happened in real life?
- Watch a video: The National Film Board of Canada has produced a 10-minute animated film called Bully Dance. Watch the video with your children and use some of these discussion questions to start a dialogue about the issues in the film.
- Get creative: Not everyone is comfortable communicating verbally. Explore other ways to share experiences and problem-solving strategies, like sketching or drawing, listening to music, or story-writing.
Sometimes the best way to get your child talking is through informal teachable moments. When watching TV or movies with your child, talk about the characters’ actions and choices in resolving conflicts. When your child is experiencing conflict with a sibling or friend, ask which WITS strategies he or she might use.
The important thing is to get your children comfortable with talking about peer conflict, with using their WITS and with coming to you when they need help.
Parent Toolkit: Using Your WITS at Home brochure
For more ideas about integrating the WITS Programs into your daily home life, check out the brochure Using Your WITS at Home: A Resource for Parents.
The brochure includes tips to share with your children about dealing with bullying and peer conflict, how to use WITS in sibling conflicts and how to use books or TV shows as a springboard for discussing bullying, conflict and WITS strategies.