The best cure for a bullied child is to acquire life skills
Now that the school year has begun, many parents will wonder whether their child is settling in at school. Some will discover that their child is being bullied (teased, excluded, physically harassed or cyberbullied,) and will be at a loss to know how to respond.
For parents whose children have recently gone back to school, what are some of the warning signs that they should look for which may suggest their child is being bullied?
Evelyn Field is a practicing psychologist and an expert in dealing with bullying. She understands the stress parents experience when this occurs. She states:
"It's important for parents to regard this as an opportunity to help their child develop resilience and acquire some valuable life skills. If acquired when young, these social survival skills - which I call the 'Six Secrets of Relating' - help children deal with bullying and teasing now and in the future. "
"The reality is that in life we will encounter some difficult or nasty people. Some consciously bully, while others are oblivious to the impact of their bullying behaviours. We need to teach our children how the bullying game works. A range of simple skills, learnt early, allows a child to block bullies no matter where they are encountered - as well as to block his or her own bullying behaviours. "
"Often parents want to blame the school - but schools only have limited resources. In fact, even the best international school programs can reduce the incidence of bullying by just 50%; in Australia it is more like 15%. Legally and ethically, schools must make a reasonable attempt to deal with bullying, but they are not able to eliminate it. "
"I show parents and their children how to discuss the bullying and then help them learn the skills to block the bully. Once a child decides not to make a bully happy, then she or he can stop the bullying. I've worked with thousands of children over the last thirty years, and I always love that point where a vulnerable, distressed child smiles because they realise they do have the power to block the bully. "
"My research in recent years has been into workplace bullying - and I've seen clearly that the effects of bullying on a target are pernicious and long-standing. I believe that the school years are the time for a child to develop their resilience and to learn these essential life skills. We know that if the child is allowed to remain a target, he or she will take a sense of 'victimhood' into their adult years and continue to be bullied by others - friends, family members, spouses, colleagues and bosses."
Evelyn M. Field, a parent of two adult children, is a counselling psychologist and professional speaker in Melbourne who has been working with children and adults since the 1970s. As a former schoolbased psychologist, now in private practice, she has worked extensively with young people who have been teased, bullied or victimised. Her work has been acclaimed internationally following the successful publication of Bullybusting in 1999.
Bully Blocking: Six secrets to help children deal with teasing and bullying
Author: Evelyn M. Field
Conversely, how can you tell if your child is bullying other kids, and what can you as a parent do about it?
In your advice for children, you talk about how their behaviour makes them a target for bullies. What are some aspects of a child's behaviour that make them vulnerable?
Under the National Safe Schools Framework brought in by January 2003, schools are required to address the issues of bullying and harassment. Are schools doing enough, and what are some of the methods they can use to deal with bullying?
If left unresolved, how might the behaviour of a child bully or target affect them in later years?
If a child is being bullied regularly and their self-esteem is very low as a result, what can the child and his/her parents do to turn this around?
If your child tells you that he or she is being bullied, but is afraid that it might get worse if you speak out about it, what should you do?
What effect have technologies such as mobile phones and email had on bullying?
Bully Blocking Praise
,br>An age-old problem, bullying is still very present in today's society. So how do you tackle bullying in schools, at work and socially..... and arm yourself and your children with skills to combat bullying. We can't rely on schools or management to be able to solve every problem, but 'Bully Blocking' will arm you with practical advice to stop bullies in their tracks. As a mother of two I know I can't protect my children forever from bullies but I can teach them how to deal with bullies and empower them to take charge of the situation. Michelle Warmuz - Femail.com.au Editor
'Parents of today's children see no place for bullying. They also are seeking a strong partnership with schools to ensure all children are happy and safe at school. In Bully Blocking, Evelyn Field provides parents with a most practical and easy-to-read road map into the future without bullying. Parents who unfold Evelyn's road map will find support and confidence to make that journey successful for their children and their school communities.' Duncan McInnes, Executive Officer, NSW Parents Council.
'Evelyn Field's thoughtful and beautifully written book is both timely and needed, providing young people and their carers with a variety of skills, knowledge and strategies to counter the problem of bullying and teasing.' Assoc Prof Michael Carr-Gregg, PhD MAPS, author of Surviving Year 12 and co-author of Adolescence.
'Evelyn Field has drawn on her vast clinical experience over many years of working with children, their families and teachers to write a superb book about all aspects of bullying ... Bully Blocking is an invaluable resource for children, parents, teachers and all professionals working with children who are aware of the often-devastating consequences of bullying that is allowed to go unchecked.' Professor Frank Oberklaid, Director, Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne.