Reading with children

a blog by Magic Tales

child reading

From Bully to Bookworm: Transforming Difficulties into Opportunities with Children’s Literature

Parenting is a journey where every day brings its own set of challenges and triumphs. Lately, an issue that has been troubling me is dealing with bullying and its impact on my child. As parents, it’s our responsibility to guide our children to behave respectfully and stand up to bullying when they see it. But how do we do this effectively? How do we navigate these tricky waters that can potentially harm our little one’s fragile self-esteem and emotional well-being?

After mulling over different strategies, I found a surprising ally in our fight against bullying - Children's Books. Reading, indeed, has the power to open up a world of possibilities, providing the right tools and inspiration for our children to interact constructively. Surprised? Let’s dive into this journey from being a passive observer of bullying to an active bookworm who's ready to make a difference.

Books as Mirrors
Children's books act as mirrors, freely enabling children to see themselves, their feelings, and their experiences reflected in the characters they read about. In our situation, books about bullying can help children who are victims feel seen and validated. It also provides them with alternative strategies for coping and even standing up against it.

In the book, 'Chrysanthemum' by Kevin Henkes, children see the journey of a young girl who is bullied because of her name. And how she gains the confidence to appreciate her uniqueness. Reading such stories can also allow children to empathize with characters in similar situations, thus providing them a safe way to explore these complex emotions.

Books as Windows
Besides acting as mirrors, books also serve as windows to different worlds and experiences. Reading stories portraying diverse character experiences help children understand multiple perspectives, including that of someone who bullies and the reasons behind their actions. This could help demystify 'why' some kids bully, thus helping our children to process it better and not to internalize it.

Books as Dialog Starters
Having a conversation about bullying can be tough, awkward, or even scary. This is where books come handy! They can act as perfect catalysts to spawn those difficult discussions naturally. For instance, 'Wonder' by R. J. Palacio, which is about a boy navigating school life with a facial abnormality, offers frequent thought-provoking situations that can be perfect conversation starters in understanding and addressing bullying.

Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. The key is to keep an open mind and offer unconditional love and support to your child while they navigate through this challenging journey. Books do not hold all the magic wands, but they are an influential tool that can help equip your bundle of joy for the journey ahead. So, let's pick a book, find a quiet corner and read and discuss with our kids about empathy, kindness, and respect. Let's turn our little victims into empowered bookworms and agents of change.

In the end, remember that it is ok to ask for help. If you feel like the bullying is more severe, it might be beneficial to involve the school or a professional counselor.

Happy reading!

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