4 Movies to Model Positive Bullying Strategies for Kids

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Bullying is rampant in schools across America with research indicating that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 students say that they have been bullied in school. The majority of students never tell their parents or school authorities about being bullied, and some may even resort to unhealthy or dangerous activities to cope. Parents are often the first to see the signs of bullying and can take positive steps to help build their child’s resiliency. One simple thing is to encourage kids to watch a few movies about bullying.

Why Movies?

When it comes to instilling life lessons, a meaningful movie can get the message across faster than any book. Moreover, watching movies can have a lasting impact on a child’s development. According to a survey of children between 4 to 15 years, it was found that watching movies have an overwhelming influence on a child’s overall development. Here are four movies about bullying with positive messages that parents can watch with their children and discuss together.

Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

The first Harry Potter movie shows how Harry was bullied by his relatives even before attending Hogwarts. Once he arrived at the school of magic, others tried to bully him as well. But he stayed strong, made good friends, and found out that his choices matter in life. Your child can learn that being resilient and standing up for oneself and one’s friends matters when faced with a bully. Moreover, having loyal friends, such as Ron and Hermione, is also important as making friends can boost a child’s self-esteem. Bullies tend to pick on kids who appear less than confident, so encourage your child to make friends, look the bully in the eye, and remain calm, just like Harry did in this film.

Mean Girls (2004)

This teen comedy highlights the hierarchy of popular girls in schools and all the drama that goes with it. It also has a few important messages: that being your true self can make you happier than pretending to be someone you’re not, and that judging people by what they wear or what they look like is wrong. It also looks at how a bully thinks and feels, and that the bully, Regina, picks on people to cover up her unhappiness and body image issues. The film illustrates different forms of bullying: how teen girls can manipulate their friends by playing mind games, excluding them from conversations and activities, controlling their actions, and having a say in whatever decision they make.

The Karate Kid (1984)

This classic shows the importance of believing in oneself in spite of being bullied. Daniel is new in town and becomes a target for bullying. The boy decides to learn karate from Mr. Miyagi, who not only teaches him how to defend himself, but also to be mentally strong. This film shows how martial arts can instill self-confidence, which is essential when a child is coping with bullying. Apart from learning how to defend him or herself, martial arts can teach your child other skills to deal with a bully, such as assertive body language and communication skills, and responding positively to stressful situations.

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Cyber bully (2011)

Taylor becomes a victim of online bullying after her brother hacks into her social media account and posts negative messages about her. Soon, the students in her school follow suit. The bullying eventually gets to Taylor and she thinks about ending her life. Her mother then fights for legislature against cyberbullying and wins, and Taylor gets help from a support group.

Cyber bullying has a devastating effect on teens as it causes tremendous psychological, emotional, and physical stress. Kids who are bullied online experience depression, anxiety, fear, and low self-esteem, all of which can lead to thoughts of suicide. Having a support system that includes encouraging and supportive parents is crucial for a child being cyberbullied.

Watching movies kids can relate to can help them understand life situations, what bullying is, what it can look like, and how to deal with it. It can encourage children to speak more openly about bullying with parents and school authorities. These are good movies to start a conversation.

Guest post by Jackie Edwards.
Photos by Mc Jefferson Agloro and Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash.

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