Did you know that almost every schools has reported bullying among children occurs on a daily or weekly basis? This is so in primary and secondary school, but it can be stopped.
Bullying has made national headlines and here in Barbados we had at least one child who died as a result of bullying and the bullies are facing jail time. Schools and communities are taking a strong anti-bullying stance.
Every parent needs to do their part to stamp out bullying and this can start at home. Parents must take time to help their children understand that there are other children who are going to strike out at others because they are unhappy or they do not feel loved. Help children to see that when other children behave mean towards others, that they may be jealous of them or looking for attention.
In this way, your child might be able to smile off the situation and ignore the bully. Always check to make sure that your child is happy and that no one is bothering them at school or any where they go and never leave a situation unattended.
Here are some smart strategies to keep children from becoming targets and stop bullying that has already started:
Talk about it. Talk about bullying with your children and have other family members share their experiences with bullying. If one of your children opens up about being bullied, praise him or her for being brave enough to discuss it and offer unconditional support.
Consult with the school about the situation and insists that something be done about it. This does not mean, fighting
with the school, using abusive words or any form of aggressive behaviour that can eventually embarrass your child or
make the situation worst.
It simply means that you arrange a meeting with your child’s class teacher and if this does not result in positive action,
get a meeting with the year head or principal.
Remove the bait. If it's lunch money or gadgets that the school bully is after, you can help neutralize the situation by encouraging your child to pack a lunch or go to school gadget-free.
Buddy up for safety. Two or more friends together are less likely to be picked on than a child who is all alone. If your child has to walk or take the bus home, encourage them to walk with friends and not alone. If this cannot be done and this is where they are bullied, try to pick your child up at school.
Keep calm and carry on. Teach your child to ignore hurtful remarks and help them to understand that the child who is using such remarks may have a problem. Let your child know that the bully might even be jealous of him/her. Teach them to walk away from situations, not being afraid, but being smart. Bullies thrive on hurting others. A child who isn't easily ruffled has a better chance of staying off a bully's radar.