Unfortunately bullying is something that many children endure during their schooling years. This type of behavior hurts children. It can be very damaging and can destroy children’s self-esteem and feelings of self worth. Bullies often have a lack of empathy for others.
Today many schools have anti-bullying programs in place to make students aware of this issue and that is unacceptable. They also advise students what to do if they are being bullied.
Nowadays, with the advances in technology there are more and more ways to hurt others -this is known as cyberbullying. This type of attack is particularly hurtful as it is easy to spread malicious messages to many people at the same time or humiliate, not only the people in the playground as in the past but to a whole community with one click of the keyboard. Check out these cyberbullying books for more information.
What is the Definition?
Firstly, let's look at what this issue actually is.
It is a behavior that is learned. It is when a child or group of children intentionally hurts or controls another child.
A key issue here is power. The child who is hurting others is trying to exert power over the other students, the victim. Children have conflict while playing and interacting and this is normal. They need to learn to manage conflict and adapt and get along with others are part of developing theiremotional intelligence. On the other hand when it is an act of control and power and the intention to hurt another person, it becomes unacceptable.
If you find out your son or daughter is being bullied at school what can you do? Make sure your child knows the difference between being bullied and having a conflict with another person.
Tips and Techniques
1. First, make sure your son or daughter knows this is not his/her fault.
2. Encourage your child to share with you each day what is happening to them.
3. Explain the things a this person says are not true and that bullies are usually low in self esteem.
4. Make an appointment with the teacher and explain clearly what has happened and create an action plan for future events.
5. Tell your child to ask an adult for help if they are approached by the bully.
6. Explain that the other child is looking for a reaction so to try and not react at all, simply walk away.
7. If the bully follows, they should say STOP IT, Do NOT DO THAT or other such phrases in a loud voice.
8. Continue to keep in touch with the school and keep lines of communication open. The school may bring the parents of the instigator in for a joint meeting.
9. School safety is important. Remind children not to fight back. Stay safe and try to stay away from the people who are involved.
10. Remind your son or daughter you are always there to help them and that you are proud they came to you and told you about the bullies.
Effects of Bullying
Bullying can cause a lot of stress for your child.
Encourage your school to develop a good character education program that can teach children about dealing with this and other issues.
Bibliotherapy or using stories and books about this idea can be very helpful to help children express their feelings or confide their feelings about bullying they are being subject too. See the bibliotherapy list of bullying books here. Talk with your little ones and get them to respond to the literature in order to promote discussion.
Academic achievement can be affected by fighting and teasing so try to discuss this issue often with them in case any issues arise. Kids often shut down and don't want to discuss this issue as their self-esteem may be affected. It is important to keep the dialog open and promote active listening and to continue to find ways for kids to release and express their emotions. Developing EI takes time, by working on the skills each day your child will become stronger and more able to deal with a various situations including being faced with bullies.
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