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Bullying: Adult Action Can Improve School Safety

Bullying: Adult Action Can Improve School Safety

erikaBy Erika Coetzee

Bullying in schools interferes with learning and with the sense of safety and well-being of all learners. A significant part in developing in children a tendency not to mistreat others is played by parents’ attitudes opposing bullying, positive family relations, as well as parental involvement in schools.

Adults can take action to help create a safer learning environment:

  •   Address Bullying — It’s Not Harmless Nor To Be Ignored Or Dismissed

Bullying (whether it’s through threatening words or gestures, physically hurting, name-calling, mimicking, harassing, or shunning/isolating someone) is a destructive force in the lives of many children. Being the target of any form of bullying is an attack on a young person’s self-esteem and joy in life, as well as their ability to successfully achieve academically. Consistently acting as an aggressor allows a child to build behaviour that will be destructive socially, personally, and professionally later in life. Witnessing mistreatment at school creates an upsetting and distracting environment in which to play and work and learn.  Aggressors, targets, and bystanders can learn to be assertive rather than aggressive or passive in dealing with problems that they experience directly or that they see happening.

  • Make Bullying Of All Forms Against The Rules

Bullying in schools needs to be clearly against the rules. Find out what steps your school takes to prevent and address bullying.  Parents should be aware and tune in to their children.  Children who are acting upset with each other should not be ignored.  Help children by teaching them skills for handling conflict. Set an example for your children by not allowing people to mistreat you and by exercising the self-control necessary not to mistreat others. Do not allow mistreatment to occur in the home, especially between siblings.

  •  Teach Children To Be Aware And Confident

Bullies pick on frightened, ignorant or defensive children. Most bullying can be stopped when it is small or even before it starts when possible targets and bystanders are alert and assertive.

  •  Teach Children The Power Of Words

Children can be taught to protect themselves from words and also by using words.  They are to be taught not to allow insults, rude behaviour, or guilt trips to trigger them into feeling intimidated or emotionally coerced by an aggressor. Children need to learn how not to allow others’ words or actions to influence their choices, and how not to behave in emotionally damaging ways towards others. Teach children how to set clear strong verbal boundaries in a respectful, assertive way with people they know.  Role play is great fun and a wonderful tool for children to practice this skill.

  •  Teach Children To Get Help

Be someone your children can come to with their problems without fear of you overreacting or belittling them or lecturing or getting mad at them. An issue that might seem trivial to you usually seem big to them.  Most of the time, children just need someone to listen so they won’t feel alone. Being able to talk about problems can help a child figure out what to do and put things into perspective. Having our children in the habit of talking to us can also alert us to more serious issues. Help your child to identify staff members who are most likely to listen and provide ongoing monitoring and support. Children who believe they have someone they can count on and discuss serious problems with, are less likely to feel badly or unwell as a consequence of being bullied.

  •  Engage Kids In Activities That Will Boost Their Confidence And Gain Them A Stronger Social Network.

Children who have little or no social support are particularly at risk. Get them involved in activities that they enjoy and are skilled at to increase their social base, confidence and support network.

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