We’re raising a generation of upstanders! Ninety-three percent of kids say they’d take action if they saw someone doing or saying something mean.
“I would try to stop the person because I know how it feels to be bullied, and it is not fun.”
“I would tell a friend because they would give me confidence to do the right thing. My friends are trustworthy, so I can count on them to help out in any situation.”
We were heartened by this survey result, indicating that kids today are ready to stand up for what’s right, to take action when they witness something hurtful happening. Kids ages 6 to 10 are more likely to ask an adult for help, especially 6- to 8-year-olds, but a fair number—23%, mainly older kids, 9 to 12—said they would try to stop it on their own. As children grow into their tween and teen years and seeking peer approval becomes a higher priority, going along with the crowd can seem necessary in order to ensure a stable social status. “Parents can find empathy for the challenge their tweens face as they consider their own social pressures and how hard it is as adults to break from the pack,” says Jennifer Miller, M.Ed, author of Confident Parents, Confident Kids. She adds, “Parents who frequently open up conversations with their child around peer pressure can have an influence.” Miller recommends that you discuss practical strategies with your kids. Role-play situations at home: What can you do to “save face” with the crowd but also say no? Practice simple, memorable ways to stand up for your friends with words and actions like “Stop! You know you’re wrong!”