How To Talk With Your Kids About Bullying
How To Talk With Your Kids About Bullying
As a mom of four kids, one of my biggest concerns is bullying—if you’re a parent I’m sure you can relate! We don’t want our children to be bullied at school or online but we hear about it all the time. It’s such a complicated conversation to have because kids usually don’t really want to talk about it, whether they’re on the receiving end or even just witnessing it happening to someone else in the hallways.
And of course, we never want to hear that it’s our own son or daughter that is acting as some sort of tyrant either. We just want our kids to be happy and don’t always know how to prevent something that is honestly becoming a huge epidemic across our schools and beyond.
Between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 U.S. students say they have been bullied at school. Many fewer have been cyberbullied.
A Fantastic Opportunity
Because of that, it was a huge honor for all of us when Jackson had the opportunity to play a small role in the film “¡VivaLa Revolucion!” recently, a movie that deals with exactly the type of situation we never want our children to have to face: bullying.
The movie tells the story of Dominick, a young boy who is bullied in fourth grade. After delivering a presentation on the Cuban Revolution, he begins his own personal revolution against the lead bully and ends up becoming the ruthless dictator of the playground himself. It’s precisely the two sides of the same coin that parents fear—our child first being pushed around, taunted, and hurt, only to wind up doing the same thing to someone else later.
In the U.S. 70.4 percent of school staff have seen bullying. Of that percentage, 62 percent witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month and 41 percent witness bullying once a week or more.
Planting the Story Seeds
The concept for the film came about when one of the producers, and the film’s director, Tony Estrada went to Cuba and wondered what Castro and Che would have been like as children themselves. He then began hearing more and more stories of bullying from people he wanted to collaborate with on this project. He quickly knew he could combine his curiosity with those personal tales to create a unique twist on a common problem.
Tony is not only a brilliant storyteller, but he’s also an enthusiastic children’s mentor. Honestly, he could not have picked a better focus than one with a strong anti-bullying message. He and his producing partner, Jona Ward, previously collaborated on their last short film, “Bridesman,” starring Danny Trejo.
Statistics show that 28 percent of U.S. students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying. Twenty percent of U.S. students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.
Making Movies With Friends
Jackson had such a great time filming because he got to work with his good friend Lonnie Chavis from “This Is Us”—and really, how can you not have fun when you’re working with one of your besties? Jackson loves filming anyway, but it’s extra cool when you get to do it with a close buddy.
I was so proud of him, not only for his accomplishment but also because he handled all of the red carpet interviews. He is such a professional! Check out the video below to see him in action!
There is no federal anti-bullying law. Although 49 states have anti-bullying legislation, bullying is not—technically—illegal.
Talking Points For Families
The best part of the film is that it gives both children and their parents a starting point for having tough conversations about something that affects so many people these days! Sometimes a fictional story is a perfect catalyst for talking about something that is way too real. I know my family will be having a lot of discussions about bullying in the years to come, and this story helps so much.
I hope you’ll all get a chance to check it out and let me know what you think. The film will be officially hitting the international festival circuit from July to November, but it will also be screened by the production team during a national school tour in which they’ll present the film, accompanied with a youth empowerment presentation. Although Jackson won’t be on the tour, the film’s stars Maite Perroni and Miya Cech will be guest speakers, as well as UN Youth Ambassador, and star of “High School Musical,” Monique Coleman. I can’t wait for people to see this amazing movie.
Approximately 30 percent of children admit to bullying others.
In the meantime check out the sizzle real—and Jackson—here: https://vimeo.com/326687965/e2463e5045
Will you be watching? How do you have conversations about bullying prevention with your family?
For more information about the movie, or if you’d like to request a screening at your school/youth center check them out @vlrmovie