Friday, November 5, 2010

Bullying and What You, the Parent can do about it! by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Bullying and What You, the Parent can do about it! by Mrs. Dorothy Barron      

Bullying- it happens; it is a part of life and may I suggest 10 things you, the Parent can do about it!

Bullying defined in simplistic terms - To pick on another individual(s) verbally or physically in a negative or derogatory manner, often repeatedly.

On today, I want to briefly discuss bullying and leave tips for you, the Parent, to consider as a means of counteracting this destructive behavior among our young people. It often starts and/or occurs within our schools because it is the place where most young people congregate at the same time. The repercussion, retaliation of bullying or a score can be settled at any time; at school, after school, by chance or at a predetermined meeting place.

Parents, there are things that you will not know that are occurring with your child and/or within your child’s school; there are things that your child will not tell you for a number of reasons. Some children know their parents very well, as well as their manner of handling things, which unfortunately and at times can actually make matters worse for the child.

1.      Bullying occurs; understand that it is a part of life and learn ways to counteract such.
2.      Understand that bullying occurs as a result of mainly two things- some person(s) have been made to feel inferior by others and/or an individual who appears weaker is perceived as an easy target by another or others.
3.      Ask school administrators- what is the school’s policy on bullying?
4.      Ask school administrators- how does the school (actually) handle situations that fall within this purview?
5.      Talk to your child and discuss bullying from both perspectives (being a bully and being bullied)
6.      Open a door or line of communication with your child- even if they do not use it as often as you, the parent would like; they need to feel comfortable knowing that that line of communication is there, they can use it and you will be on the other end as and when needed.
7.      Teach your child to show respect for each person and things (animals, the environment, etc)- making fun of others is NOT cool, fun or funny; in this era, such can lead to serious or even deadly consequences.
8.      Stop leaving it up to the schools to solve all problems that our children encounter.
9.      If bullying is a major problem at your child’s school, get involved. Volunteer; become a school hall monitor, cafeteria or after-school monitor. Such affords you the opportunity to observe and hear things that sometimes a busy teacher or educator may fail to see or hear.
10.  Parents, what is your individual plan for your child if, and when someone begins bullying him/her? Man has been prone to teach his son how to defend himself through fisticuffs. When fisticuffs and rolling around in the dirt was an acceptable form of settling a matter, it usually left two or more participants bruised and battered, but alive! Such is not the case on today. Make sure your plan does not entail your child being lawfully expelled from school, you, the parent, in violation of the law, or worse.

As I conclude, I will share one personal encounter. In one instance, my being a volunteer in one of our son’s classes (Kindergarten) enabled me to observe and counteract what could have easily led to a more serious case of bullying. Our sons were perceived to have been privileged and to have had everything a child could have wanted(note: I said, perceived -smile). Mindful, the oldest was just in kindergarten, but such did not sit well with a couple of little boys in his class. When his birthday occurred, with permission from the school, it was held with his classmates at school, his dad took pictures and the entire class was made to feel special. I created some additional opportunities and our son and these two little boys remained friends up to high school(I received personal invitations to both young men’s graduations).

Additional means utilized- having talked with parents of a bullying child in one case resulted in immediate cessation of bullying. As encouragement to our own children when bullied, we held some early morning, before school devotions and prayers.

There is too much going on in and out of our schools that children are not equipped to handle, nor should they; such are why they have parents. Common sense and wisdom must first prevail with the adults in order to resolve conflict, because when the chips are down, “our young people will remember most; not what was seen or heard, but the things done” (Mrs. Dorothy Barron).

From me, to you
Mrs. Dorothy Barron

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