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?

EDP Norfolk - - Education -

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’.”

An im­age cov­er­ing the So­cial Is­sues of child abuse, school­child in uni­form ask­ing for help by a writ­ten mes­sage say­ing Help with a sad face . square for­mat with an added in­sta­gram style fil­ter

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