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Features

Beat Bullying

By August 10, 2014 No Comments

Words: J’aimee Brooker

There are many differing definitions of bullying. From a technical standpoint, bullying can be correctly identified as being any behaviour (verbal, physical, social or physiological) that is misused in such a way as to influence or intimidate another person into doing something against their wishes.

However, the identification and definition of bullying is far more subjective and open to interpretation; often due to one’s own experience of bullying or being bullied, your personal standpoint on what constitutes bullying behaviour and your tolerance to such behaviours.

With the Australian Federal Government releasing research that found one in every four students in Australian schools is affected by bullying, it’s clear that the problem is easier to define and identify than the behaviour itself. So, what behaviour should parents be looking for if they suspect their child is being bullied?

A Year 5 teacher working with Education Queensland admits that bullying seems to be a timeless and universal problem, but there are strategies that can be followed if parents identify issues. “Keep an eye out for a change in mood – withdrawing, angry or depressed; a sudden unwillingness to participate in activities with others and a reluctance to go to school or talking about hating school. Obviously watch out for physical signs of bullying”.

Your school also has a duty of care to adhere to with regard to suspected bullying.

“If the bullying is originating at school, the school should be involved – parents should open up the lines of communication with the teacher initially, and facilitate appropriate action, working as a team with the school. Schools generally have tried and tested bullying and behaviour strategies in place”, to ensure the matter is swiftly and properly managed.

Kingscliff Public School in the Northern Rivers/Tweed region recently approached their senior primary students to discuss how bullying could be identified within the school environment and set the challenge for the students to implement a system whereby bullying could be easily identified by the school’s student population.

The outcome, a series of flyers detailing what constitutes bullying and what to do if feeling bullied, was surprisingly simple yet highly effective in terms of raising awareness and understanding. Furthermore, the senior students arranged for the playground seats to be repainted in a vivid blue colour, with the exception of three centrally-located seats which were painted purple. Students feeling lonely, excluded, or otherwise worried whilst in the playground can opt to sit on the purple seats hence gaining immediate attention from their peers and teachers who then step in to help to facilitate a solution to the child’s problem thus allowing the child to seek help in a non-confrontational manner; an important consideration given the vulnerability that bullying can create within young children.

Ultimately, your school is the best resource when faced with a bullying situation; however it is important for parents to remain calm and attentive to their child’s problem without judgement or trying to rationalise the bullying, and most importantly parent’s should resist the opportunity to take matters into their own hands by acting irrationally or impulsively.

For help with bullying, contact your class teacher and/or school principal or engage the services of trained professionals, such as:

Lifeline – 13 11 14
Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 65 94 67

 

J’aimee is a busy mum of three kids under nine currently completing a Bachelor of Applied Social Science, a Gold Coast radio advertising executive, and an author of novellas focusing on romance, travel and suspense. You can find J’aimee at www.jaimeebrooker.com.au. Her books are available at all major eretailers including Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.

 

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