Photo by Moritz Spannenkrebs
With colorful images, bright characters, and engaging dialogue, this excellent book teaches children the advantages of using diplomacy and faith when handling interpersonal conflict.
The Ladybug And The Bully Frog is about a lovely community of friends who have found themselves some trouble when Milton the Frog decides that no one should be around the pond but him. He starts acting mean and scaring others way. It falls to Mrs. Ladybug, whose name is Dot, to try and get through to Milton the Frog after Clover the Rabbit talks to her, so everyone can return to the pond and enjoy themselves.
But how does Mrs. Ladybug go about doing it?
Rice’s The Ladybug And The Bully Frog is a perfect analogy for children experiencing bullying and wanting to fix it through compassionate means.
Most media teach children that the best way to overcome bullying is to stand up against bullies. That is a big problem because it only creates a cycle of giving and taking; as Martin Luther King said in his many speeches: “Hate only begets hate.”
The majority of bullies do not become bullies due to inherent reasons. Nobody is born a bully, and here are some reasons why someone might become a bully:
- Because of fear: Some bullies fear being ostracized, so they learn to exclude others preemptively.
- Because of attention: Many bullies have trouble interacting with others, so they lash out to attract any form of notoriety, whether negative or positive.
- Because of unhappiness: Almost all bullies come from backgrounds where there are strained relationships with a parent or a relative, so they bully others so they can compensate for that uneasy relationship.
- Because of prejudice: Some bullies are taught to discriminate and bring these lessons in interactions with other children.
Like Milton the Frog in The Ladybug And The Bully Frog, who was upset that he was not invited to a party with the other community members, bullies are products of circumstances, and their peers and adults around them should engage with both empathy and sympathy.
Importance of Play in How Children Learn to Interact with Others
For children, play is the most critical mode of development. While children engage primarily with their parents and other children of the same age, the play does not just stop there! Through unstructured engagement, children can interact with other humans in general, socializing and learning simultaneously.
Play is vital to children because they can:
- Build up trust and self-confidence—children become more confident and trusting of their community.
- Develop relationships organically—children develop connections naturally and positively by interacting with others.
- Discover their wants and interests—children are introduced to various hobbies and activities.
- Interact with others and the environment—children can learn more about people and their surroundings.
- Learn how to navigate emotions—children can be reflective and know how to express themselves adequately.
Sometimes the worst possible thing to do with young children is to disengage them from play because this disrupts their development in relationships with their peers and learning how to navigate those relationships properly.
Why Diplomacy is Important in Dealing with Conflict
Learning that bullying is a learned trait and that play is a pivotal stage of development for children, more compassionate and interpersonal methods should be applied to deal with bullies.
These are some ways that parents can do to help their children interact with other children better:
- Encouraging them to interact more with friends: Social skills allow children to engage with their peers better and with less friction. Socially capable children know how to react to problematic behaviors from others.
- Engaging with their issues no matter how small: Always remind children that they can communicate with you, regardless of the problem’s seriousness. Let these become moments for learning and bonding.
- Guiding children on how to assert boundaries: Let children set boundaries with kindness and respect. Assertiveness allows children to be more vocal with their discomfort and forward when they experience problems.
- Having a human relationship with them: Physical disciple increases the chances of the child becoming bullied or becoming the bully. The best way to prevent bullies is to let them know they are loved and can love too.
- Instructing them how to be respectful: Parents are the people children look up most to, and they will try to copy their every move. So, Parents should model confident and respectful interactions with others.
- Teaching children about the red flags of bullying: Bullying generally happens because bullies know how to hide their actions. Teaching children what bullying looks like helps them intervene or ask for help from others when it occurs.