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Article on bullying by Beaumont Todd

THE BAHAMAS CRISIS CENTRE

Bully Proofing Your Children

As we are approaching a new school year and are making preparations for our children to go back to school, we must also prepare them mentally and emotionally as we prepare them physically. Having a nutritional and good balanced breakfast and lunch is very important. However ensuring our children have the necessary self-esteem and confidence to succeed is just as vital, so they can progress, learn and be successful in their education. Apart of this is ensuring that our children feel safe, comfortable and happy in their learning environment. This can be in school, church or anywhere our children go to learn, socialize and that contributes to their overall education.

Amongst a number of issues our children can face on a daily basis that can inhibit their growth and development during their educational experience one of the major problems is the problem of bullying and being bullied.

What is Bullying?

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

How does bullying affect children?

Bullying can make kids feel hurt, scared, sick, lonely and sad. Bullies might hit, kick, or push to hurt people, or use words to threaten, tease or scare them. The affects of bullying in a child’s life, if not addressed, can lead them going through life being bullied by others even in their adult life or becoming bullies themselves.

Mark was a happy little boy going into grade four at a new school. He was excited because his family had just moved to a new neighborhood and wanted to make new friends as soon as possible. Mark was not a shy child but was usually very friendly and happy. A month after attending Mark’s new school his mother noticed that his behavior had changed slightly. Instead of the happy loving child she was use to seeing, Mark became very jumpy and isolated.

When he came home from school instead of going outside to play he would usually stay in his room for hours until dinnertime. He never wanted to talk about his day and would just stay to himself. When asked about his friends in school, he would simply say they were ok and end the conversation. After watching him a little longer, his mother decided to visit his school and talk to his teacher about him. Upon further investigation Mark’s mother discovered that he was being bullied. His teacher said he had told her about it, but asked her not to tell his parents.

Just like Mark many of our children experience-bullying daily and do not inform their parent’s of what is going on. As parents we have to be diligent, although life can be very demanding, to ensure our children are happy and safe.

SIGNS OF CHILDREN WHO ARE BEING BULLIED:

 Children coming home from school with damaged or missing clothes.

 Children who come home with bruises and scratches.

 Children having trouble with school work for no apparent reason.

 Children deciding to use a different route between home and school or deciding to avoid their usual route.

 Children having nightmares.

 Children who start to become or feel irritable easily, upset, or feeling emotional.

 Thoughts of going to school become terrifying. Child pretends to be sick or just does not want to attend.

PARENTS IF YOUR CHILD IS BEING BULLIED, HERE ARE SOME POINTERS:

 Listen to your child-allow them to tell their story. Do not respond by telling then it is a part of growing up.

 Children should not have to put up with being hit or assaulted when they go to school. If your child has gained the courage to tell a teacher that he or she is being bullied it can be a crushing blow to be told that you are being silly or the other students were just teasing.

 If you suspect that your child is being bullied but is afraid to say anything, find a way to raise the subject or ask one of your child’s friends if something is wrong.

 If your child refuses to talk to you, suggest that they talk to another adult such as a family member or a teacher.

 If your child discloses that they are being bullied do not rush in demanding to see the teacher, the bully or the parents. Doing that is the very thing that your child fears.

 Talk to your child about what they want to happen next. Suggest that they keep a record of the incident so that you would have concrete information to show the school.

 Make an appointment to speak to the class teacher or guidance counselor.

 The bullying might not stop right away; however, encourage your child to keep being open by telling you what’s going on.

Parents should not give up. Remember that the welfare of YOUR child is at stake.

BULLYING EFFECTS CHILDREN MORE THAN WE AWARE OF…

Bullying consists of the following:
 Being teased, or called names.

 Being hit, pushed, pulled, punched, or kicked.

 Having money or other possessions taken.

 Receiving abusive text messages or emails.

 Being abused or attacked because of religion, gender, sexually, disability, appearance or ethnic or racial origin.

REMEMBER—BULLYING IN ANY FORM AND AT ANY AGE IS UNACCEPTABLE.

We are one people created equal by God and for the purpose of loving and being loved. Let us work together to heal our families, communities, nation, world and ourselves.

If your child is being bullied, we can help too. Call THE CRISIS CENTRE 24-HOUR HOTLINE: 328-0922 or 322-4999.
If you would like to talk to someone about bulling, please call us or for more information check out our website at http://www.bahamascrisiscentre.org or email us at bahamascrisiscentre@yahoo.com.

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