7. Detailed Procedures and Schools Programme of support for working with those affected by bullying:
A. It is important to remember that children will always have differences
of opinion and arguments. If these incidences take place sporadically or involve minor disagreements then there is generally little to worry about. Children should be taught the difference between temporary fallings-out and the serious, systematic and repeated aggressive behaviour which constitutes bullying.
B. Also it should be realised that one of the main lessons children learn in school is how to get along with others. This includes dealing with people that you don’t really get on with very well. Being in a class or a playground with a child who may annoy you or ‘get on your nerves’ teaches children how to compromise and how to deal with less-than-ideal situations. Not really liking another person does not make you a bully – equally, a person who does not really like you is not necessarily a bully.
C. Bullying is defined at the beginning of the Schools Policy Statement as “unwanted, negative and repeated verbal, psychological or physical behaviour conducted by an individual or a group against others”
D. Bullied children find it difficult to talk about their experiences because of several factors including
- A fear of reprisals
- Shame or embarrassment
- An unwillingness to let other people know
- The risk of losing the respect of peers or their families
- A lack of confidence in adults ability to sort out things
- A belief that ‘telling tales’ is wrong
E. The signs which may show that your child is being bullied are outlined in the Policy Document.
F. If you feel that your child may have been the victim of bullying at school, you must tell the teachers. Often children will plead with their parents to say nothing for fear of making matters worse. The child can be reassured that as much confidentiality as possible will be maintained. Bullying of its very nature is a secret activity, and schools can be very busy places. The teachers will not know unless they are told.
G. Teaching a child to respond to bullying behaviour by ‘fighting back’ or ‘ignore them and they will stop’ will not be effective in solving the problem – in fact the situation will probably worsen.
H. The procedures for dealing with incidences of bullying behaviour are outlined in the Policy Document.
I. Most parents are worried from time-to-time about their child being bullied but what if your child is the one accused of being the bully. Don’t dismiss the accusation. Teachers will not make it lightly or without evidence.
J. Children may become bullies for different reasons.
- They may feel insecure and inadequate
- They may be victims of bullying themselves
- They may be very competitive and see other children as either inferior or as a threat to their position
- They may not realise that their actions are hurtful to the other person
- They may be responding to something else in their lives – a new baby, an illness or death in the family, a change in their home life, etc.
K. It is imperative that the bullying behaviour stops. However, punishing a child who bullies will not work on its own. Talk to your child to try and find out why they are behaving in this way. Try to get them to understand how the victim feels. Children who bully often suffer from poor self-esteem. Tell them you love them, but their behaviour is unacceptable. Try to get them to accept that their behaviour was wrong and to promise it will stop. Make sure you keep monitoring the situation.
L. It is very important that the parents and the school work together to deal with situations involving bullying behaviour.