Bullying: How To Deal With This Issue
Bullying is a problem that affects millions of children every day, yet because parents, teachers and other adults don’t always see it, they may not understand the extent of the bullying. Whether you are a parent or teacher who thinks a child is being bullied there are steps you can take to deal with the problem.
Some parents are over-protective and can compound a child’s victim mentality, making them more likely to be bullied; others can be inattentive but sensitive to bullying and a child can use reports of being bullied as a means to get attention from a busy parent.
Conversely, some schools or pre-schools are reluctant to admit to problems and may try and present a façade of perfect serenity. Some teachers have a similar agenda, even within an otherwise supportive school, and so may under-state the problem when talking to parents or their line manager. Also, there may be specific issues with the bullies that effect how the issue should be dealt with.
In such cases, you may be less inclined to intervene on the part of the victim in a way that the victim, or the parents of the victim feels is appropriate.
While I wouldn’t advocate the ‘put up and shut up’ solution, paying undue attention to a playground spat and treating it as bullying gives the victim a sense of power and is likely to reinforce the victim behaviour as it has resulted in a positive outcome for the child. Assuming that the school isn’t trying to cover things up, and that the child isn’t using this as an attention seeking tool, the following might help in reducing the bullying suffered by a child.’
There is now a move towards a two-pronged approach to bullying: the first deals with the bully and tries to get to the bottom of the bullying behaviour, the second tries to empower the victim. It is recognised that some people are more likely to be the victims of bullying than others and that there is a high chance that even if the current bullying stops, that a child will come across other potential bullies in his/her life and therefore will benefit from knowing how to deal with them.
Whilst parents should insist that a school implements its anti-bullying policy, there comes a point where parents have to trust the school to do its job, unless there is sufficient evidence for a formal complaint. The most beneficial thing for parents of children who are being bullied to do is to make their children more assertive. This is not ‘giving as good as he gets’, but helps a child to develop confidence and self-esteem and to use firm but non-aggressive techniques for responding to bullying behaviour.Tags: bullying
Categorised in: parenting advice
This post was written by Dr Amanda Gummer