Yesterday the week started against bullying. Every child gets to deal with bullying in one way or another. Maybe he or she is sometimes bullied himself, or maybe he is the bully himself or gets bullying in a different way because, for example, a child is bullied in his class. Did you know that one in nine children is being bullied in a school class of 27 pupils? Then there are at least three, also in the class of your child.
Many schools have a bullying protocol, but unfortunately these are not always used or the measures are not sufficient.
What is bullying
Bullying is the behavior in which someone is treated repeatedly and for a longer period of time by others in ways that lead to physical injury and / or psychological suffering. Bullying is structural and brings the victim to despair, it is a universal, non-cultural phenomenon. Research has shown that in Northern, Central and Southern Europe almost as much and in the same ways is bullied. Bullying can be verbal, physical or electronic in nature. The last form has taken off as cyber bullying since the introduction of the internet and business and school servers.
Tease and bully
Teasing is not the same as bullying, although the dividing line is not always clear. It is therefore not surprising that parents and teachers can not easily recognize the distinction. In case of pests, both parties are (virtually) equal, and the situation is one on one. Sometimes the one does something, the other time the other. It may happen that it is not pleasantly found, and there may even be a fight, but even then both parties are doing well. Teasing can also have a benign character, where both parties can laugh about it. A typical Dutch example is the Sinterklaas poem.
Bullying is structurally different. In contrast to pests, there is no equivalence here. The bullying happens (often) not one-to-one, but with a whole group against one (sometimes two or three, but often a minority). The bullied can not defend itself, and is always the cigar. He often does not dare or can not hit back, or is not effective in this. Plagues stop over time, while bullying often continues for a long time.
What can the class do to bully?
Schools must ensure a socially safe environment and combat bullying. How they do this, schools can decide for themselves. However, schools must have a good picture of how safe the students feel.
Once you have noticed it, you want to suppress the bullying behavior as quickly as possible. There are three parties that you can do something with: the one who is being bullied, the one who plague and the outsiders. All these parties are important if you want to tackle the bullying behavior well.
The child being bullied
Talk to the child being bullied, preferably in a one-on-one conversation. Give him a sense of security and take his words seriously. Agree that you will only take action if he wants to. So that you will not do anything outside of him.
It is important to make it clear to him that if you can not do anything, the situation will not change. If he wants to stop the bullies, something will have to happen.
Discuss together what the best solution could be to stop the bullying behavior. Tell him that fighting back is not an option and that he can better ignore the bully. Since you can not see everything, you can best agree with him that he will come to you when he is bullied again. Agree together that you will approach his parents to inform them. Perhaps social skills training can be useful.
Just as it is important to talk to the child that is being bullied, it is also important to talk to the bully. Maybe you can understand what the underlying reason of being bullied is? Try to enter the conversation without judgment and accusation in order to receive such a fair answer.
Discuss with him the consequences of bullying and how the other child feels and experiences this. Explain to him that his behavior is unacceptable and that bullying must stop, let him also know the possible consequences if he continues anyway. Important to discuss his behavior with his parents. Perhaps there are certain circumstances that can explain the behavior. Maybe there are tensions at home? Or somewhere else? Perhaps he also needs social skills training?
The school can talk to you if your child is involved in bullying. In case of serious insult or abuse, there can be a criminal offense. In that case, a report can be made to the police.
By talking to the perpetrator and the victim, you are not there yet. It is just as important to discuss bullying in the classroom. After all, it will not have escaped many children. Let the children know that bullies themselves often have problems and are not always 'bad' children. Only with each other can you suppress the bullying behavior, with solidarity, understanding for each other and to make things discussable.
Make clear that there is no room for bullying behavior and also discuss the possible consequences. Important to make the topic open to discussion and to let the fellow classmates give their opinion.
What can you do as a parent?
It is not strange at all to feel helpless as a parent. You can not do much about it either. Of course you want to help and protect him, but you actually look at it. Perhaps you can check how the school deals with it and what they do about it, there are many anti-pest methods that can be applied in schools and at home. Please inquire about this at school. Questions you could ask:
How does the school view it? Did the teacher know that something was playing? How does the e.e.a translate to school results? What is the school going to do about it?
If you do not come out with the school, you can submit a complaint in accordance with the complaints procedure of the school. Usually you end up with the board, but it is also possible to file a complaint with an independent complaints committee.
It is important that your child talk about his experience. It may be that he would rather not do it with you or with your partner. Sometimes his shame gets in the way. Fortunately, there are opportunities for this. At Pestweb you can for example tell your story. For advice or just to air your heart. You can join in the forum with other children or chat or mail with someone from Pestweb.
Important that you point your child to this possibility. If he does not want to talk to you then, maybe he wants it with like-minded people?