School is a separate and strange world, where new comers or those, who are different, usually appear in the situation that they are not accepted in the school society. The situations may be different and children who appeared in the situations when bullying is imparted on them, they should know that there are parents and teachers who will always come with help. The ways out exist, and they are numerous, but to find the most appropriate one, parents should find out the nature of the conflict and decide it with the government of the school.
Bullying is the problem at schools which is not just discussed but also battled in the whole country. Before considering the problem solutions the question of the characters’ behavior development should be discussed, relying to the work of some theorists in the field. Analyzing children’s behavior, Kearney & Albano (2007) offer that they may act in two directions. Focusing on one group of children, it may be stated that their behavior may be characterized by “general anxiety, social anxiety and withdrawal, depression fear, and physical symptoms” (p. 2).
The physical symptoms may be expressed in various ways, but commonly these are stomachaches, headaches, tremors, or nausea, which are concluded as general indisposition. These symptoms are the most dangerous as they are not usually perceived as bullying consequences and the problem remains hidden. The symptoms are treated, not the causes, and the results are not achieved.
The second group children are characterized by the other bullying symptoms, such as “traumas (crying, screaming, flailing of limbs), verbal and physical aggression, reassurance-seeking, clinging, refusal to move, noncompliance, and running away from school or home” (Kearney & Albano, 2007, p. 2). Such behavior is seen and the results may be provided at once.
Considering the parents behavior, it much difficult to structure it, nevertheless, Kearney and Albano (2007) made an attempt to do it and they found out that parents try to reassure and comfort their child as much as they can, as they seen to convince themselves in the appeared situation. This is a mistake, as they never are able to do this, moreover, they will make only harm by their intentions to please any child’s desire (p. 74). Teacher plays one of the main roles in the problem development and his/her behavior is significant. He/she may either take the active part in the conflict decision, or just stay aside (Kearney & Albano, 2007).
Children develop a sense of themselves as competent or incompetent. One of the predominant problems in this stage is bullying, a systematic effort to inflict harm through physical, verbal, or social attack on a weaker person. During their son’s yearly checkup, parents of an 8 year old boy expressed some concern about their son. He is withdrawn and doesn’t like to talk about school. The first problem which should be decided is to make their son speak about school and especially the problems, which occur there.
The first step in parent-son conversation about some problems at school should be started from the distant issue. The talk should be started from the importance of trust in the family. Child should never be afraid of any of the family members. The child should know that he is loved and respected and that parents will never abuse him, no matter what he may tell them. There is nothing to be ashamed of, and child should know about it, the child should trust their parent with the consideration that all said will never be put on the social discussion and will stay in the room, where conversation takes place.
The next step is to reassure the child that he does the right thing while telling everything as problems should be decided and it is impossible to decide it, if the problem is not discussed. Moreover, the child should also know that teacher is the other person, who can be turned to, when there are no parents for assistance (Supermam; Family Life Parenting, 2007, para. 12).
After the conversation with the child was provided and the fact of bullying was confirmed, it is high time to turn to the other stage of the problem decision. Children are rather emotional and during conversation about painful facts they may exaggerate some facts and events, so before making some accusations it is crucial to search for some facts, which deal with the discussed problem. The ways of fact collection of bullying may be as follows, the observation of students’ interaction at school, the talks with other students and parents, the staff is the other reliable source of information as these adults provide everyday communication with children and should notice all the changes in their behavior (Rigby, 2003, p. 25).
The third and the last step is the problem decision in particular. Parents should know that the main helper for them in the problem decision is the teacher and the staff of the school. The reliable and respectful interconnection among teachers and parents should be the main priority in their relations. Parents should know that teachers are the support for children when parents are absent. Turning for teachers for help, parents should be sure that teacher will make all possible to decide the problem in secret, without society attraction and that the very problem decision will not harm their child (Porter, 2008, p. 6).
The teacher’s task in the situation is to provide the conversation with both, those who are bullied and those who bully. The correctly structured and argumentative talk may turn the situation for better and the cases of bullying may stop. One of the ways the teacher may calm the situation down is to make up the lesson which could be devoted to the “support healthy peer relations and specific bullying prevention skills” (Hirschstein et al, 2007, para. 20). Such lessons may include the true stories and illustrations, with bullying consequences and anti-bullying methods.
Children and parent, who have appeared in the situation of being bullied, may turn for help not only to teachers, but to the government of the school and consider the school programs, which are usually titled as anti-bullying polices. Much depends on parents, when there is a talk about anti-bullying polices. Allan L. Beane (2008) offers such actions for the parents,
- parents should ask for the “Parents’ Pledge” and to sign the support for the anti-bullying methods at school. Moreover, the parent may express the desire to attend some meeting and activities, directed on anti-bullying prevention;
- if the child was given the assignment on bullying, parents should cooperate with the child and do the task together, relating to the school’s anti-bullying police and information which could be gathered;
- in the case of volunteers necessity, be one of the first to face the responsibilities for the high-risk areas supervision, such as hallways, playgrounds, bus stops, bathrooms and others. Furthermore, it may be asked to have some sort of training, to roved the effective work;
- have the copy of the anti-bullying policy of the school, it there is one, and look through the policy together with the child and make sure that the child had understood the policy; and
- parents should offer the help in organizing the anti-bullying board for classroom or the hallways, which may be the first sign that the school’s actions are directed seriously on the bullying prevention. The information for the board may be found at www.bullyfree.com (p. 200).
To treat the child to protect himself from bullying is difficult, as first of all the child should be told to face the fear in order to fight it down, as fear avoidance will not help (Rapee, Wignall, & Spence, 2008, p. 138). Moreover, the child may be asked to visit different parties and other places where a lot of people is, in order to make him used to the crowds and not being afraid of it. The situations which involve communication should be simple for a child (Kearney & Albano, 2007, p. 79).
In conclusion, the problem decisions, which are connected with bullying at school, should be always started with the conversation. The main aim of the conversation is to tell that bullying is not a normal thing and that it should be fight over. The child should know that parents and teachers are people, who may be trusted. The main aim of the conversation is to overcome the child’s feeling of shame and to tell about the problems at school. Showing the child anti-bullying school policies, they should be discussed in order to give the child understanding that the problem is universal and only by the common intentions it may be destroyed.
Beane, A. L. (2008). Protect Your Child from Bullying: Expert Advice to Help You Recognize, Prevent, and Stop Bullying Before Your Child Gets Hurt. John Wiley and Sons, New York.
Hirschstein, M. K., Van Schoiack Edstrom, L., Frey, K. S., Snell, J. L., & Mackenzie, E. P. (2007). Walking the Talk in Bullying Prevention: Teacher Implementation Variables Related to Initial Impact of the Steps to Respect Program. School Psychology Review, 36(1), 3+.
Kearney, C. A. & Albano, A. M. (2007). When Children Refuse School: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Approach Parent Workbook. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Porter, L. (2008). Teacher-Parent Collaboration: Early Childhood to Adolescent. Aust Council for Ed Research, Victoria.
Rapee, R. M., Wignall, A., & Spence, S. H. (2008). Helping Your Anxious Child: A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents. New Harbinger Publications, Oakland.
Rigby, K. (2003). Stop the bullying: a handbook for schools. Aust Council for Ed Research, Victoria.
Supermam; Family Life Parenting SUPERMAM Claire Walsh Is a Mum of Two Lively Youngsters and Children’s Centre Manager at Stockton’s Sure Start. She Can Help Solve Your Family Problems – Great or Small – with Guidelines on How to Cope. (2007). Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England), p. 16.