Bullying is a growing concern amongst Parents. The problem has reached levels where some children have considered or have taken their own lives.
Bullying can be physical or Psychological. Psychological bullying could be in the form of exclusion from games, name calling, etc. One of the most amazing things is that most people do not even know that they are bullying until it is pointed out to them. Bullying can start as a playful teasing and graduate from that. Unconscious bullying can just be an attempt to be noticed and becomes a habit after successfully gaining attention through doing it.
The most visible form of bullying is physical. And in the case of conscious bullying, it is important to note a few facts. All experts will agree a bully seeks out the right person to pick on. In the West Indies there is a saying. “A ghost knows which person to haunt.” As mentioned before as a Leadership educator of two major schools in Derbyshire, I have had the experience of teaching children with behavioural problems. When I ask a group who has had the reputation of bullying another child, they are all in agreement on what type of child they pick on or target. The child with the slumped shoulders, chin down and not very aware of their surroundings, the quiet kid, and one student actually referred to a potential target as the ‘shy boy’.
If you picture an unconfident child in your minds eye, you’ll probably be thinking of a child with head down, shoulders hunched and breathing shallow. If you imagine talking to him, he would probably speak in a low tone, and barely make eye contact. Does this fit the profile of a potential victim to bullying?
Making adjustments to your child’s physiology can dramatically change their appearance to potential predators. However there are a few more things to consider in dealing with bullying.
Awareness for any Problem is the key to solving it. I like to use the colour method: -
White. Is a state of non-awareness. Not aware of the signs of bullying such as exclusion from games, name calling, slight but constant irritation, such as pulling of hair, throwing of objects, any thing that can cause disruption or discomfort.
Yellow. Becoming aware. Now you know the signs of bullying you are in a better position to deal with the problem. For example: when you last went to the newsagents, you probably couldn’t tell me how many red cars you past but now you are more aware you could tell me next time you go.
Orange: Becoming aware of the available choices. What choices are available to your child? Your child has the choice of telling a teacher, telling you the parent, running away, ignoring the bully, changing hang out spots, changing peer groups, even defending themselves and more. The important thing is that they have choices.
Green: Make a decision. In the case of bullying there is only one person that can make that first step or that first decision. That is your child. They have to make a decision on how to act and their actions is down to the choices and options available. As a Leadership educator I give my students a scenario of the animal kingdom defence mechanisms, for example: -
A dove when attacked fly’s away. The dove doesn’t fight.
A Porcupine when attacked by a lion never fights but merely sticks its spikes up and the lion always comes worse off.
A skunk lets off a horrific stench when attacked and attackers will flee.
As for a cartoon ostrich they bury their head in the sand. Your child cannot afford to ignore the problem and hope it goes away.
Now Hang on: My child should not be bullied in the first place. It is the teacher’s fault, the bullies parents fault, the systems fault, it’s not my child or my fault. You’re perfectly right, however when presented with any problem your child’s first option is to accept responsibility for the way they feel. It’s hard for a child to do this but in view of the fact psychological bullying is aimed at causing upset, accepting responsibility diminishes its effect. Taking responsibility instantly makes the victim consider choices in dealing with the problem. One of my students who was faced with bullying was taught by myself to adopt the attitude that he would not be held hostage to the opinion of others. With a few minor adjustments in body language and learning how to safely defend himself and look after his attackers safety in the process he solved the problem of bullying.
Here is what Jack Said about his Leadership Program:
- Black Belt Academy is words I say with pride. I use
to get bullied frequently at school but when I turned
to black belt (joined the school) they showed me how to
deal with the problems, they have also done wonders for
my confidence, and I try giving them ago. The techniques
they teach and the way they teach them are brilliant,
they make sure that you can go to other people and say”
I can do that.”
There’s one major thing that they taught though and that is “you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
Note to parents
Teach your child awareness, choices and creativity. If one thing doesn’t work change it and keep changing it until you have gained the desired result.