I heard a story the other day about a 7 year-old boy being bullied at school. A classmate regularly taunts him. His classmate invades his personal space, and has even tried to touch his genitals in a teasing kind of way. The school has been made aware of this situation, and they are trying to intervene. They are attempting to keep the boys apart as much as possible. And the schoolyard staff knows to keep an extra close eye on the both of them.
School is supposed to be a place of safety for our children.
Despite these efforts, nothing, to date , has changed. So what is a parent to do? School is supposed to be a place of safety for our children. Our children spend as much time, if not more time, in school compared to home. Is it not their right to be happy and feel safe without having to constantly look over their shoulder?
Although the details of these types of incidents vary, these problems are all too common in schools today. And it therefore begs the questions, “What is being done to stop this behaviour? Are schools really equipped to manage children who do not respond to typical forms of discipline?”
Getting involved in school business is often a double-edged sword for parents.
Getting involved in school business is often a double-edged sword for parents who on the one hand, want to teach their children to stand up for themselves, but on the other hand, do not want to see their children mistreated in any way.
Too often, parents that get involved too quickly are accused of being helicopter parents. They hover over their children and do not allow their children to grow and learn and pick themselves up. At the other extreme are parents who do not get immediately involved. They are often perceived as being neglectful of their children’s needs or of being emotionally unavailable to their children.
So what are parents supposed to do?
Do we follow proper protocol and assume that in the school setting, the problem will be managed without us? Or do we put on our protective hats and jump right in? Truth be told, there is no right answer. Whichever way we respond, we must always keep in mind the chronological and maturational ages of our children as well as their cognitive abilities.
If it was my child being bullied at school, I would try the following methods to get involved while at the same time attempt to empower my child. At every step of the way, I would ensure my child is part of the process. I would not be there to rescue her, but rather to help her acquire the strategies to be able to help herself down the road.
Strategies to Help your Child without Rescuing them:
As parents, it is ultimately our job to protect our children. Our children count on us to be their defenders, the ones they can rely on and whose shoulders they can cry on. No matter what.
It is imperative for us to be on this and not assume a school is going to follow through. We need to ensure that schools take these matters seriously. As such parents need to be kept updated as to their child’s particular situation and educated about school policies and processes.
If our children grow up knowing their parents have their back but at the same time know we believe in their abilities, they will learn that they are able to take on just about any obstacle that life throws at them.
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