Wednesday, 20 July 2011
My Thoughts on School Bullying
I am very pleased to say that bullying isn't a huge problem at my girls' school. They are quick to take action and they seem to take claims seriously. This is so necessary. All too often reports of bullying are ignored or the victim is too scared to come forward to tell someone in authority about it. If the latter is true it takes an astute adult to pick up the warning signs.
1. Physical - bruises, torn clothes, damaged books, bed wetting,
2. Emotional - becoming withdrawn, crying easily, nervousness, quick to anger or depressed and unhappy.
3. Academic - Marked change in school behaviour or school work, not participating in activities, sitting alone at school break times.
So what can a parent do if they suspect bullying?
Trying to get a child to open up is hard. Try to ask open ended questions like; What did you do at school today? Who did you play with? Do you like the kids in your class? Do you like school? Try to stay calm and positive. Let them know that you understand and that you are pleased that they have opened up to you. Tell them that you promise to do all you can to stop it.
Parents should always play a large part in their children's life. Get involved with the school. Make yourself accessible to your child, to their teachers, to the Principal.
Teach children how to cope when being bullied. Try not to take over, but help them learn coping strategies and assertiveness.
Help them get a strong group of good friends. This in turn will lead to confidence and assertiveness.
Never let them think that they are at fault in any way. Let them know that it is the bully that is in the wrong and needs to change their behaviour and not them.
Talk to your child's teacher and work together to fix the problem.
Never underestimate the power and effect that bullying can have on sensitive children. There are all to many sad stories of suicides as a direct result of being bullied.
Take a stand to fight this. We owe it to our kids.