TalkBack To Vicki Jardine

A TalkBack on Parenting Issues

Let’s talk about ‘Bullying’. February 26, 2009

bullying

What do you think constitutes ‘bullying’?  Everyone gets picked on at one time or another in their young lives.   How can a parent know if their child is being bullied?  Does bullying imply continued and frequent events, or can a single event be identified as ‘bullying’?  How harmful is bullying to the ‘victim’ child?  Is bullying harmful to the children doing the bullying?

How can a parent truly re-establish their child’s confidence after they have been bullied?

These questions are all important to consider if you are a parent, caregiver or educator.  Bullying is an unhealthy manifestation of low self-esteem on the part of the bully/s.  When a person (sadly some adults are bullies too), bullies someone, they feel they are elevating themselves and showing that they are more powerful than the victim.  Bullies often appeal to the crowd who are also lacking in sufficient self-esteem to ‘go along’ with behaviours they know are not acceptable.  The ‘peer pressure’ that is created by a bully is almost ‘tangible’.  Children who would otherwise not behave in a cruel manner side with the bully rather than become a target of the bully themselves. 

In times past, some degree of ‘bullying’ was actually acceptable in as much as it was thought that it allowed the development of some ‘life skills’ in which children could learn to defend themselves and stick up for themselves.  Most cases of bullying were never identified as bullying and many times the victim was told to ‘toughen up’.

So what we have is a society in which some parents were themselves ‘schoolyard bullies’ and no one really thought anything much about it. 

Add into the equation that most parents will feel defensive of their child if he/she is accused of bullying at school. 

So the stage is set.  But these days we know that bullying can have serious consequences, not the least of which is that of the ‘suicide’ of the victim. 

So I would like to see adults address this issue as the serious issue that it is.  I would like to have some input from parents whose child has been bullied.  I would like to give them this space to say what they saw as the ‘real problem’ and what they feel the ‘best solution’ would be.  I would like these parents to describe for other parents what they wrestled with in order to restore their child’s confidence.

I also want to hear from parents of children who have been accused of bullying.  I believe these parents too may be struggling to ‘help’ their child to interact more positively.  I believe that since ‘bullying’ has become a recognized issue, there are some children all too ready to accuse others of bullying, which is not really a desirable outcome of addressing the problem.

I would like to hear from educators for whom the whole issue of bullying has dominated large portions of ‘teaching time’ and who have also had to ‘deal’ with both sets of parents (the victims and the bully’s).

Talk back to me, people. 

Share your experiences and let’s try to make the way we do things for kids more relevant to the ‘real world’.

Here’s to your child’s success!

Vicki Jardine

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