We're better without Bullying
Bullying is endemic in British schools and it is likely that bullying has gone on in our schools for as long as schools have existed. Bullying is a highly complex behaviour that is not easy to define.
Parents face a number of challenges in their endeavours to support their children through this challenging situation.
- Parents can and do blame themselves for what is happening to their children.
- Parents might experience strong emotional feelings, especially if they were also targets of bullying when they were at school.
- Parents have to manage their own emotions as well as dealing with those of their child.
- Parents often lack both the confidence and skills to support their children successfully through a bullying situation.
- Parents might not find it easy to work with teachers, as schools may sometimes also point the finger of blame at the parents.
This feeling of powerlessness is one of the most difficult aspects of parenthood. In some cases the parents may feel as helpless as the child to effect change.
Children often trust parents the most, and they feel their parents are in the strongest position to effect change; however, children can be quite reluctant to tell their parents about being bullied for a number of different reasons;
- Children who are bullied feel rejected and unpopular and may feel ashamed to talk about this to their parents.
- Children often want to protect their parents and they may not wish to worry their parents.
- Children are sometimes wary of admitting that they have given money or expensive items to the bullies.
Consequently, some children find it easier to tell their friends or a particular teacher about being bullied.
Teachers are centrally placed to support both the pupil and their parents. However, teachers are not always effective in handling "bullying situations" for a number of reasons
- Teachers may not have the skills or confidence to deal with the situation effectively.
- Teachers may not have sufficient time to manage these situations thoroughly.
- Teachers might feel blamed by the parents for not preventing the situation.
- Teachers might lack awareness in respect of the strong emotions evoke in the parents.
It is easy for mistrust to develop between the parents and teacher. It is vital for teachers to work in partnership with parents when a school is trying to deal with bullying. If the child, their parents and the teacher are able to put forward their views about a particular incident, it will be easier to understand the situation more fully and resolve it quicker.
- Parents need support to manage their own emotions, their children’s feelings and to work collaboratively with their children’s school.
- Teachers need to be trained in the skills required to support pupils and parents more effectively.
- Young people need to learn skills and strategies to handle these situations.
- Young people will benefit from support being provided for their parents and teachers.
- Provide the structure to support parents and young people, individually or together.
- Explore the emotional impact on parents and their children as a result of being the targets of bullying.
- Build young people’s resilience and teach them assertiveness skills and strategies to manage the situation with increased confidence.
- Empower parents to take charge of the situation and work in partnership with the school
- Work with parents and children together to support effective communication, explore the impact on their relationship and plan for the future.