Learning to cope
Bullying is a problem that can’t be magically made to disappear – so how can children learn to be resilient and deal with victimisation, both for now and the future?
HOW does your child’s school deal with bullying? Some schools are better than others at tackling the problem of bullying and it is certainly an important factor to bear in mind when applying for a place at secondary school for your child, something which many of you will be doing currently.
Many educate pupils about bullying via awareness campaigns and the establishing of schoolwide rules, while keeping parents fully engaged in their bullying strategy.
But with the best will in the world and even with all these systems in place, bullying still happens - a lot of it outside of the school gates. Sometimes bullying occurs within children’s own friendship groups, which can be particularly isolating – and this type of bullying is more likely to go unreported.
More than 14% of British pupils who took part in a recent poll say they are bullied frequently which can have long-lasting consequences. One in three adults who were bullied at school claim it has had a negative impact on their career prospects and selfconfidence, according to 2014 research from the Oxford Open Learning Trust.
“Developing a Teflon coating is something we all need to work on to survive the workplace,” says Antoinette Dale Henderson, a expert in assertiveness for the Gravitas Programme (gravitasprogramme.com), coaching employees on how to stand up for themselves at work.
“Helicopter parenting prevents young people from learning resilience and how to defend themselves. They’re often rescued if found to be at risk of bullying at school, leaving them less able to cope in other bullying scenarios – like later on in the workplace.”
She believes the key is to teach your child to see the bigger picture and not to be passive.
“If you encourage them to view bullies with compassion and look for the reasons why they are on the receiving end of bullying behaviour, they can create some detachment from it and have more resources to deal with the perceived threat rationally,” she says. “Encourage your child to be firm when someone bullies them, saying ‘Don’t do that, it’s not OK,” conveying in that moment that their behaviour is not acceptable. This sends the signal that ‘I’m worth more than this and I’m not going to take it’.”
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